He did lose four seconds in the chaotic run-in to the line in Benevento and dropped one place to 10th on general classification but is well-poised to move up on today’s summit finish.
Yesterday’s 233-kilometre stage was won by German powerhouse Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) with Roche crossing the line in 14th.
A break of four riders featuring Daniel Oss (BMC), Amets Txurruka (Orica-GreenEdge), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) and Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo) characterized the day after escaping on the only categorised climb after 35 kilometres.
However, thanks to the work of Greipel’s team that quartet were reeled back in inside the final 20 kilometres, which paved the way for the sprint.
“Chapeau to my teammates today,” Greipel said immediately afterwards.
“It was hard for them to chase down the break but they continued to work for me even if the other teams didn’t help us. Jurgen Roelandts did an amazing job from five kiloemtres to the final kilometre to keep me up there.
“Everybody slowed with about 400 metres to go and I thought if I see a gap then I’ll go through it. I saw the gap and I went through it and I gave everything I had in my legs.”
Tom Dumoulin is still in the race leader’s pink jersey and is 16 seconds clear of Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep) with Tuesday’s stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) a further four seconds further back.
Today’s stage is the most decisive of the race so far and takes the riders 157km from Ponte to the first summit finish of Roccraso.
Meanwhile, Eddie Dunbar will spearhead the Irish national team at the An Post Rás which gets underway on Sunday week. The 19-year old Irishman will be supported by Christopher McGlinchey, Ronan McLaughlin, Mark Downy and Matt Teggart.