Pinot moved ahead of defending champion Geraint Thomas and the other top guns after being the only rider able to follow Julian Alaphilippe's brutal attack on the last ascent of a 200-km ride from Macon.
After placing 30th on the stage, Bennett is 17 seconds behind Pinot, two seconds ahead of Thomas, who crashed about 15 kilometres from the end but escaped unscathed and crossed the finish line 10th, 20 seconds behind Alaphilippe and Pinot.
De Gendt's incredible victory came after he was part of the original breakaway group of four before outlasting his fellow escapees, a charging peloton and then Alaphilippe and Pinot in the frantic closing stages.
Carrying the hopes of a country that has not seen a homegrown Tour victor in 34 years, the French pair emerged as the big winners on the latest stage, which saw Geraint Thomas crash and lose ground in the defence of his title.
De Gendt said, "I nearly crashed in a few corners but I made it". 'Woods crashed, and just took out Gianni and me.
After seizing control of this year's Tour de France with his late attack on La Planche des Belles Filles on Thursday, Geraint Thomas very almost lost it on Saturday. "But still it hurts - it hurt so much".
Thomas had his team mate Michal Kwiatkowski to thank for his recovery.
Instead, the Frenchman now builds on a 23-second advantage atop the overall standings, and embraces for the Bastille Day with yellow jersey back.
Moscon's bike was snapped in half in the crash.
Alaphilippe has retaken the general classification lead from Italy's Giulio Ciccone.
"I was trying to catch my bike because one policeman took my bike away so it was very hard to get back on the bike".
Thomas took consolation from the fact that he was able to catch up with the speeding pack, but he was disappointed Pinot and Alaphilippe got away. "I've had very good feeling already for the whole Tour and I had incredible legs today".
"There is pressure obviously but the biggest pressure is the one I put on myself", said Pinot, who abandoned the race in 2016 and 2017 and did not take part a year ago after failing to fully recover from a bout of pneumonia sustained near the end of the Giro d'Italia.
"The worst thing was that Pinot got time".
Australian Michael Matthews led the peloton home in fourth spot, paying credit to his team after they engineered the chase for an elusive stage win. "Since I've done that I'm more relaxed", he said.