He managed to carry the yellow jersey in to the Tour de France's second and final rest day.
A nine-man group formed on the descent when he went on a lone attack, increasing his lead to 50sec at one point as the chase proved disorganised. As he was losing time and seeing his lead slipping away, he traded wheels with teammate Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) and lost less a minute of time. "I had to give it my maximum to get back to the front of the race".
Cheered on by partisan crowds on the 8.3-kilometer (5-mile) slog up the steep Col de Peyra Taillade - scaled for the very first time by the Tour - Bardet's French team AG2R put the hammer down.
The three-time Tour victor and defending champion punctured at a critical moment and was forced to work hard to ensure he finished with his main rivals.
A 10-rider breakaway group, including stage 13 victor Warren Barguil of France, developed at the start of the 189 kilometre stage.
Not feeling 100 per cent on stage 15, Bennett said the second rest day could not have come at a more ideal time.
Dutchman Bauke Mollema won the stage after a courageous solo break on a lumpy 190km stage from Laissac-Severac l'Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay.
It had been clear since midway through the day that stage honours would go to the breakaway, with Sky happy to let a 28-man group pull further and further away in the first half of the day. "Because of them, I think I became a better player, too", said Federer, who will turn 36 next month and is the oldest male champion at the All England Club in the Open era, which began in 1968.
I'm grateful I was able to come across because it was a critical moment. Thanks to my team-mates, Sergio Henao and Mikel Nieve, who helped me. "It's a close race, but we knew that coming into this year's Tour de France with so few time trial kilometres, so few summit finishes". "I said before the start it would be good if a Frenchman won".
Froome can draw confidence from the fact he's the one now wearing yellow, the fact that he and his team have defended their way through some challenging situations in recent days, and the fact he's the rider with the time-trial trump card. He was one of the greatest and most aggressive riders of any era but I don't remember him ever attacking a rival who was having bad luck. "I think he has made the right moves at the right times".
After narrowly averting disaster in the Massif Central, Chris Froome believes he is ready for the final stretch of the Tour de France with a handful of rivals breathing down his neck. "When they attacked us on the last categorised climb we just couldn't follow and we rode as hard as we could, the two of us". That was a big goal for me. I needed a chance, but a lot of teams wanted to go up the road today. I'm shocked to see the same time gaps here as from that day in the Pyrenees and I'm just glad to have bounced back from that day. It was close to the chases at the end. "It is the biggest win of my career". We always try and we have shown that in this Tour de France.