Nicolas Roche beasts Nufenen summit to take victory in Stage 3 of Digital Swiss
Race leader Pierre LaTour disqualified due to "digital doping"
Nicolas Roche won the toughest mountain stage 3 at the VirtualTour of Suisse. The Irishman was trailing race leader Ag2r La Mondiale’s Pierre Latour who attacked early and extended his lead until being disconnected due to a home trainer "calibration problem".
Roche crested the summit finish after 33.54km in a time of one hour and 12 minutes, CCC’s Ilnur Zakarin was second, ahead of Larry Warbasse (Ag2r La Mondiale) third.
Sunweb’s Chris Hamilton and EF Pro Cycling’s James Whelan overtook Michal Kwiatkowski late on to finish fourth and fifth ahead of the Polish rider.
Vuelta a España winner Primož Roglic, Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam and Simon Yates and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) all took part but failed to feature in the top 10.
Pierre Latour attacked from the gun, riding at more than 500 watts to try and get a good gap.
After 20km, he dropped from first position, with Sunweb’s Nicolas Roche in the lead, the Irishman 400m ahead of Larry Warbasse in second. Latour’s Ag2r La Monidale team confirmed there had been a home trainer calibration issue.
Team Ineos’ Michal Kwiatkowski dropped from third overtaken by Ilnur Zakarin, putting Warbasse under pressure.
The top four remained unchanged as the riders grinded up the brutal Nufenen Pass, one of the highest mountain passes in Switzerland with gradients of over 16% and an average of around 10%.
With 7km to go Warbasse, Zakarin and Kwiatkowski were all within 100m of each other, before Zakarin overtook American Warbasse with 5km to go.
Zakarin put in a big efforct to catch the Irishman, but his 400m lead was good enough for the win.
Australian's Chris Hamilton and James Whelan overtook a fading Kwiatkowski.
Warbasse fought hard to get back on terms with Zakarin but to no avail.
Tomorrow's stage four, from Oberlangenegg to Langnau is 36.8km long, the fearsome Schallenberg mountain is the first of two climbing tests but the second half of the race is downhill so expect a fast finish into Langnau.
VIDEO: 2020 Virtual Tour of Suisse Stage 3
2020 Virtual Tour of Suisse Stage 3 Top 10
1 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb 1:12:11
2 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC Team 0:01:10
3 Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R la Mondiale 0:01:17
4 Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:01:40
5 James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:01:51
6 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Ineos 0:02:04
7 Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren 0:02:30
8 Louis Meintjes (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling 0:02:54
9 Rein Taaramäe (Est) Total Direct Energie 0:03:08
10 Gavin Mannion (USA) Rally Cycling 0:03:25