Race report

Nicholas Roche cruises to victory at Digital Swiss 5 Race 3

Digital Swiss 5

Race 3 of the Digital Swiss 5 saw the peloton take on a mixed bag of terrain, with a testing 33 kilometres from a virtual Fiesch to Nufenenpass to contend with. Chris Hamilton, Wilco Kelderman and Nicholas Roche were in action for the team, with their Cervélo bikes set up on Elite Cycling trainers, ready for another hour of tough racing.

Like in previous days, today’s racing got off to a scintillating pace with a number of riders pushing over eight watts per kilogram for the opening few kilometres. After their impressive second and fourth places in Race 1, Roche and Hamilton were to the fore in the early stages and they both picked their way through the pack and up the standings.

The riders charged along in ones and twos along the valley roads before making the turn onto the Nufenenpass. Leading onto the climb after a very impressive display on the flatter roads beforehand, Roche continued to put the power through the pedals as the road continued to rise, extending his gap over the opposition. Behind, Hamilton continued to make progress through the bunch and soon moved into fifth place.

With everyone giving it their all on the stinging slopes, Roche managed to hold on to take a commanding win, with Hamilton climbing into fourth place once again at the finish.

Speaking after the race Roche said: “That was a very, very difficult and intense race; it was on from the beginning. I just had to pace myself because I had Kwiatkowski, Zakarin and Warbasse just behind me on the climb. I could see I wasn’t able to gain much space on them but I was riding steadily and basing my effort on them behind. The climb and effort was a bit longer than I expected and the last three kilometres were absolutely horrible. I’m quite happy, it was a good effort for us and the team; I wanted to commit to this and I’m happy it’s worked out.”

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts added: “The guys are really enjoying the online races; in particular the guys who in the current circumstances can’t get out to train on the roads. It’s nice for them to be able to mix up their indoor efforts with some good competition. We can see that the guys like Nicholas, Chris and Michael [Matthews], who have been doing quite a lot of work on their indoor trainers the past few weeks are quite accustomed to it and benefiting from it when going into these online races. We’ve seen a great effort from Nicholas the first day, Michael yesterday and Nicholas has come away with the victory today. It’s going great for the boys and I’m sure they’re really enjoying it.”