Simon Yates bid farewell to his Paris-Nice general classification hopes in the crosswinds that blew through the opening stages, but the Mitchelton-Scott rider stormed back on Thursday, taking the 25.5km individual time trial in Barbentane by seven seconds over Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) and by 11 seconds over race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky).
Yates had a long wait on the hot seat, starting the day more than 18 minutes down halfway through the stage start list. His result held the test of time, however, as rider after rider failed to top his mark.
Kwiatkowski's third-place finish extended his general classification lead over teammate Egan Bernal, although the Colombian's sixth-place performance looked dangerous as he was six seconds ahead of the Pole at the first time check. Kwiatkowski bounced back in the end, however, beating Bernal by four seconds and extending his lead.