A best UCI WorldTour stage result of fourth, a leap up to fifth place on GC, and the lead in the best young rider classification: it’s safe to declare stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse as the best day of Matthew Riccitello’s fledgling professional career to date.

The 22-year-old American rode brilliantly on today’s 10.2-kilometer final climb to Carì, where he even launched the first attack, before looking the definition of calmness personified in a five-rider front group alongside race leader and eventual stage winner Adam Yates and former Tour de France winner Egan Bernal.

Riccitello crossed the line 18 seconds behind Yates, with only a late surge from Bernal preventing him from finishing third. He sits just four seconds off fourth on GC and has a 24-second lead in the under-23 classification.

“I’m super happy with how today went – I knew I had good legs coming into the race and every race I do, I am always pretty ambitious and eager to get a result,” he says. “I wouldn’t say I am super surprised, just pretty happy that it worked out today.”

Today’s stage featured the hardest start to any stage in the race so far, with two categorized climbs in the first 32 kilometers. Barely 20 riders made it over the top of the second of those (also up to Carì, albeit from its southern side), with Riccitello, George Bennett, and Stevie Williams among them.

Once the race settled down, Williams placed himself in the day’s breakaway. After the final rider from it was caught on the base of the final climb, the GC contenders sprung into life.

Riccitello adds: “It suited me a bit more than the shallow, faster [finishing climb] yesterday, and also the stage being pretty hard from the start helped me a bit. I do a bit better when everyone has some fatigue in the legs.

“I don’t know if I could have done anything differently, I went as quickly as I could at the top. I’m a bit bummed that Bernal came by me at the end but it was a good race and still happy with the result.”

To date, Riccitello’s best WorldTour GC result is 12th, which came in February’s UAE Tour. With three stages remaining in Switzerland, there’s a strong chance he can better that.

“We have lots more climbing to come,” he adds. “I just want to keep going the way I have been going and it will be a good race.”