Chris Froome climbed his way towards reclaiming his Tour de Romandie title after finishing just one second behind Katusha's Simon Spilak on stage three in Aigle.
The two riders escaped from their rivals for the general classification on the final climb and finished together 57 seconds in front of the chasing group after descending on the other side.
Spilak moves into the overall lead after the Slovenian managed to get in half a wheel in front of Froome in the sprint for the line to grab the stage win and the ten-second bonus.
Froome is second overall, just one second down on Spilak, but is now a clear favourite to win the Tour for the second consecutive time given his prowess in the time trial which will conclude the event on Sunday.
Rui Costa, the world champion, is third overall, 1 minute and 2 seconds adrift while Vincenzo Nibali follows, 1 minute 6 seconds down. They both finished in the chase group.
As suspected, the 180 kilometre long hilly stage became crucial in the race. The leader at the start, Michael Albasini, was dropped on the first of the four category-one climbs and as the front group reached the last ascent to Villars-sur-Dilan, it consisted of just 25 riders.
Astana's Nibali attacked early on the lower slopes of the climb, around 26 kilometres from home, but Froome stayed with him easily and then launched a crushing counter-attack.
Nibali was unable to stay with Froome but Spilak took up the chase and managed to bridge the gap to the Briton with 24 kilometres to go.
The duo cooperated on the climb and the gap to the chasers was 55 seconds as they went over the summit. Although Nibali is considered an expert in descents, the Italian could not make up any time as the front two held on to their lead.
Fourth stage, taking place on Saturday with both start and finish in Fribourg, is highly likely go to a sprint finish.
Tour of Romandie
Stage three result
1 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, 5:09:23
2 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, same time
3 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, +57secs
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, st
5 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar, st
6 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling, st
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, st
8 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar, +1:41
9 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, st
10 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, st
1 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, 11:39:25
2 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +1
3 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, +1:02
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +1:06
5 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling, +1:10
6 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar, +1:13
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, +1:14
8 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar, +1:40
9 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar, +1:48
10 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, 1:50
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms