Nicolas Roche takes summit victory in third Digital Swiss Five virtual race

The Irishman took a solo win after Pierre Latour lost the lead due to a home trainer calibration problem

Nicolas Roche won the third Digital Swiss Five virtual race, untroubled by his competitors for most of the race.

The Irishman was second for the first half of the race after Ag2r La Mondiale’s Pierre Latour attacked and held a commanding lead. This was until the French was disconnected due to a home trainer calibration problem.

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After Roche reached the summit finish of the 33.54km course in a time of one hour and 12 minutes, CCC’s Ilnur Zakarin came in second, with Larry Warbasse (Ag2r La Mondiale) taking third. Sunweb’s Chris Hamilton and EF Pro Cycling’s James Whelan overtook Michał Kwiatkowski late on to finish fourth and fifth ahead of the Polish rider.

Vuelta a España winner Primož Roglič, Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam and Simon Yates and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) all participated but failed to feature in the top 10 standings.

Nicolas Roche during the third Digital Swiss Five race

How it happened

Pierre Latour attacked from the off, riding at more than 500 watts to try and gap the field. However, after 20km he mysteriously dropped from the leaderboard, with Sunweb’s Nicolas Roche leapfrogging him, the Irishman 400m ahead of Larry Warbasse in second. Latour’s Ag2r La Monidale team then clarified there had been a home trainer calibration issue.

Ineos’ Michał Kwiatkowski then dropped from third with Ilnur Zakarin overtaking him, then putting Warbasse under pressure.

The top four remained unchanged as the riders made progress up a virtual version of the long Nufenen Pass, one of the highest mountain passes in Switzerland.

With 7km left, Warbasse, Zakarin and Kwiatkowski were all within 100m of each other, before Zakarin overtook the American Warbasse with little over 5km to go.

Roche was pushing out around 370w up the final kilometres of the climb, with Zakarin bringing him back under 400m ahead but the Irishman was good enough for the win.

The Australian duo of Chris Hamilton and James Whelan then overtook Kwiatkowski as the Pole continued to fall down the standings.

Warbasse fought hard to get back on terms with Zakarin but the Russian rider resisted attempts to be brought back in by the Ag2r La Mondiale rider and finished second.

Result

The Swiss Digital Five, race three: Fiesch to Nufenen Pass (33.54km)

1. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb, in 1-12-11
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC, at 1-11
3. Larry Warbasse (USA) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1-18
4. Chris Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb, at 1-40
5. James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling, at 1-51
6. Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos, at 2-05