Merzig - Slovenia's Matej Mohoric made amends for his narrow defeat 24 hours earlier by winning the third stage of the Tour of Germany on Saturday to claim the overall lead on the penultimate day.
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas was again well outside the first 10 finishers, crossing the line at one minute, seven seconds back in 43rd.
The Team Sky rider is out of contention for the German title and lags four minutes, 38 seconds adrift of current leader Mohoric.
The 23-year-old Team Bahrain–Merida rider won the stage from Trier to Merzig, covering the 177km in four hours, 12.28 minutes, in a blanket finish with Germany's Nils Politt second and Belgium's Pieter Vanspeybrouck third.
Having lost out on the line to Germany's Maximilian Schachmann in Friday's photo finish in Trier, Mohoric made no mistake in Merzig by passing Politt in the final metres to take the stage and claim the red jersey as Tour leader.
Berlin-born Schachmann finished seventh and is now six seconds behind Mohoric in second overall.
Schachmann was hampered in the final stages as he swerved to avoid a crash involving several riders just before the finish.
"I had to slow things down, it was annoying at the moment, but it's not over yet - it's going to be a tough, tough fight (on Sunday)," Schachmann told broadcaster ZDF.
"I had a hard time keeping my position in the final straight and then the crash happened."
The four-day Tour de Germany, which is back after a ten-year hiatus, concludes on Sunday on the final stage from Lorsch to Stuttgart over 207.5km which has three climbs.
Results from the third stage of the Tour of Germany, a 177km ride from Trier to Merzig on Saturday:
1. Matej Mohoric (SLO/TBM) 4hrs 12mins 28sec, 2. Nils Politt
(GER/KAT) same time, 3. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (BEL/WGG) s.t., 4. Jasha
Suetterlin (GER/MOV) s.t., 5. Nick van der Lijke (NED/RNL), 6. Vasil
Kiryienka (BLR/SKY) s.t., 7. Maximilian Schachmann (GER/QST) s.t., 8.
Guillaume Gobert (FRA/WGG) s.t., 9. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg
(RSA/DDD) s.t., 10. Jürgen Roelandts (BEL/BMC) Racing Team (BMC) s.t.
43. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 01:07
1. Matej Mohoric (SLO/TBM) 12hrs 37min 56sec, 2. Maximilian
Schachmann (GER/QST) at 6sec, 3. Nils Politt (GER/KAT) 10, 4. Tom
Dumoulin (NED/SUN) 10, 5. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (BEL/WGG) 20, 6. Reinardt
Janse van Rensburg (RSA/DDD) 24, 7. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 25, 8.
Warren Barguil (FRA/FVC) 25, 9. Frederik Backaert (BEL/WGG) 26, 10.
Pieter Weening (NED/RNL) 26
49. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 04:38