Cadel Evans powered into the lead of the Santos Tour Down Under by winning stage three with a stinging attack over the day's final climb.
The BMC Racing rider jumped clear of the bunch alongside Team Sky's Richie Porte on the ascent of Corkscrew Hill, before dropping his fellow countryman shortly before the summit and then descending to a 15-second victory.
The result means the 36-year-old now leads the general classification by 12 seconds from former leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), who finished the day alongside Porte in a group of 12 chasers.
Britain's Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) was also in that group and consequently rises to sixth overall, 29 seconds adrift of Evans.
'Win looks great'
"In sport when you have an opportunity, you have to run with it," Evans said afterwards. "Up to the last 300m, I wasn't sure I had it.
"A stage win looks great, but the GC is what we are really here for. We have been training well and we have a really solid group here."
The most selective stage of the race thus far greeted the peloton in Norwood as four riders went away, including the evergreen Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing).
For the third day in succession, Orica-GreenEdge were on hand to marshal the race on behalf of leader Gerrans, with more teams adding firepower to the front in the closing stages.
A huge increase in pace ahead of Corkscrew Hill saw the escapees reeled in with 17km to go as teams began to jostle for position ahead of the key ascent.
Philip Deignan took it up on the early slopes for Team Sky as the peloton thinned out significantly and it wasn't long before Evans and Porte opened out some daylight.
That drew a reaction from the ochre jersey of Gerrans, but there was no stopping Evans who consolidated his 15-second gap at the summit with just a 7km decent into Campbelltown remaining.
"When Cadel went I tried to follow but through the hairpins he just kicked and I couldn't go with him," Porte told Sky Sports after the stage. "It's probably a bit more suited to me that climb but I think at the moment if Cadel's as good on Willunga as he was today there's not a hell of a lot you can do."
Watch highlights of stage three on Sky Sports 3 at 7pm and 11.30pm.
Stage three result
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, 3:34:06
2 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp, +15secs
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, same time
4 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol, st
5 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
6 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
7 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC, st
8 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC, st
9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge, st
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin, st
13 Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky, st
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, 10:46:39
2 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, +12secs
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +15
4 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp, +27
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin, +29
6 Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky, +29
7 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge, +33
8 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC, same time
9 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
10 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC, st
11 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, st