Thomas Löfkvist remains in the top 10 overall at the Tour de Suisse after finishing as the best-placed Team Sky rider on the stage seven time trial.
The Swede posted a time of 48 minutes 18 seconds at the end of the 34.3km course around Gossau, a time that was 1:42 behind stage winner Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana).
The result leaves Löfkvist ninth on general classification, 1:22 adrift of Movistar's Rui Costa, who extended his advantage over the rest of the contenders with a good showing in the time trial.
After the stage, Team Sky Sports director Marcus Ljungqvist gave his verdict on Löfkvist's display, saying: "He hoped for more but he's still up there and in the mix for GC.
"Now we have two hard days over the weekend which are going to play an important role for the overall.
"The conditions were pretty constant throughout - the sun was out and it was much the same for whole field."
Michael Barry was the second fastest rider from the team, finishing just over two minutes behind Kessiakoff to move up slightly in the overall standings.
Elsewhere it was it was a low-key day for the team with the remainder of the riders opting to save their legs ahead of the final two stages of the race.
Ljungqvist added: "It was about a steady tempo for the other guys to make sure they are ready for the final two stages when they'll first of all be supporting Thomas and also making sure they cover all the breaks."
Astana rider Kessiakoff posted a time of 46 minutes 38 seconds to edge out home favourite Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) by just two seconds, with Cancellara's team-mate Maxime Monfort in third.
Meanwhile, Costa gained time on his direct rivals in the general classification and now has a 50 second cushion over Roman Kreuziger (Astana) heading into the final two stages.
An impressive effort in the time trial helped Robert Gesink (Rabobank) climb all the way from 19th to third in the overall standings, 55 seconds adrift of Costa.
Cancellara, who recently returned from a lengthy injury lay-off, started early in the day and smashed the previous best time to set an intimidating benchmark.
But Kessiakoff passed through the first time check, situated at the top of a climb, comfortably faster and although he lost time on the subsequent flat and downhill he just managed to hold onto top spot.
After Monfort, Jeremy Roy (FDJ-BigMat), and Gesink slotted into the remaining top-five places, the best-placed overall riders took to the road to bring the stage to a conclusion.
But of the later runners only Costa managed to break the top 10, the performance meaning the Portuguese rider now enjoys a comfortable advantage ahead of two days in the mountains.