Australian Simon Clarke joined the leaders as the seven-man breakaway started to up the tempo and then broke away on his own up the Col de Val Louron-Azet -- a 4.5-mile ascent.

Clarke was 1:10 ahead of Froome's group when he completed it and sped down a sharp descent to the day's last climb -- 6 miles at 7.5 percent up La Hourquette d'Ancizan.

Froome, meanwhile, tucked in behind four Movistar riders -- with Quintana riding his wheel -- for the last few kilometers until the last climb, where the breakaway riders were caught up.

French President Francois Hollande was among spectators -- protected from the heat in Tour director Christian Prudhomme's car.