Ireland’s Nicolas Roche was the winner of the third stage of the Digital Swiss 5, riding alone to the top of the Nufenpass, Switzerland’s highest road pass and winning by more than a minute as potential challengers fell away.
Sunweb’s Roche trailed early as A2GR’s Pierre Latour went off on a flier to lead by more than a kilometre, but when he disappeared from the screen at the 8km mark as a result of calibration problems, Roche had the race to himself.
Only second-placed Ilnur Zakarin (CCC) came close to Roche with a late charge, passing Michael Kwiatkowski (Ineos) and James Whelan (EF Pro) and holding off Lawrence Warbasse (A2GR) and Chris Hamilton (Sunweb) for second place.
Britain’s best rider was Simon Yates, who finished 16th, almost 11 minutes off Roche’s time, with brother and Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Adam in 37th.
Saturday's race four rematches Greg van Avermaet with the man who beat him on Thursday's stage, Stefan Kung, with GB's Luke Rowe going for Ineos.
1. Nicolas Roche (Ire) Sunweb 1hr 12mins 11secs
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC +0:01:10
3. Lawrence Warbasse (US) AG2R +0:01:17
4. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb +0:01:40
5. James Whelan (Aus) EF Education +0:01:51
6. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos +0:02:04
7. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren +0:02:30
8. Louis Meintjes (SA) NTT +0:02:54
9. Rein Taaramäe (Est) TDE +0:03:08
10. Gavin Mannion (US) Rally +0:03:25