Mikel Nieve offered encouraging signs of improving form in the Bayern Rundfahrt's queen-stage on Thursday.
The 193 kilometres from Mühldorf to Viechtach included both a category one-ranked climb and one of the second category, meaning the speedy riders in attendance were in for a tough time. Most sprinters, including Euskaltel's own Juan José Lobato, were shelled out the back, but a select few managed to stay with the lead group.
One of them, Daryl Impey, managed to pip another one, Gerald Ciolek, to the stage win from a group counting 28 riders. Among those 28 riders were Mikel Nieve, who seems to be on the mend just in time for the Tour de France after an allergy-hit and sub-par first few months of the campaign.
Nieve was the only orange-clad rider in that first group - Rubén Pérez, who earlier on in the day had formed part of an eventually unsuccessful breakaway, trailed in almost 13 minutes back in the company of Lobato.
- (1, Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), 4:41:30)
- 16, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
- 56, Juan José Lobato, 12:38
- 59, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
- 82, Jon Aberasturi, 23:00
- 98, Jure Kocjan, s.t.
- 127, Steffen Radochla, 27:00
- 128, André Schulze, s.t.