The Spaniard was ably assisted by Sebastian Henao on the famed Tiefenbachferner climb and the duo dug in as the race was blown apart on the 15-kilometre ascent to the finish, at 2,850 metres of altitude.
Henao pulled over in the closing kilometres with his job done and Nieve stuck at it, eventually crossing the line eighth behind solo winner Simon Spilak (Katusha), one minute and 47 seconds back. He now sits seventh overall, just under three minutes behind new leader Spilak.
The Katusha man had pushed clear of the GC group with a little under 10km to go and nobody could catch him, despite the best efforts of Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida) and Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Drapac).
Behind the rest of the main contenders were strung out on the climb as it became every man for himself in a leg-sapping grind to the finish. After a string of strong efforts all week Tao Geoghegan Hart slipped back early on the long run to the line but he remains an impressive 14th overall with two days to come in Switzerland.
Tomorrow’s punchy 100km stage could be more to Geoghegan Hart’s liking, with eight exciting laps around Schaffhausen in store, before the final time trial on Sunday.