Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), stage winner
“It’s a very, very special win for me. I’ve got thank the belief of the team and thanks to Dumoulin who lets us get away. Tom came to me and said it was an ideal moment to attack. Pim then came to me and we pulled through. We were all well down overall and we so got plenty of space. That surprised me, but sometimes you need a little luck. On the final climb I felt that I was the strongest and I so I went for it.”
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), leader in the general classification
“I hadn’t planned to attack. If I see a possibility I go for it. This was a climb that suited me. You need to have the legs but I had them today.
“When Nibali attacked I suffered but then when he came back I went for it. You’ve got to follow the moment. I noticed that Nibali was struggling on the flatter section and so I thought I’d go for it. I really surprised myself today. Now I’m riding for the GC but we’ll see what happens. I honestly didn’t really think to go so well.”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar):
“It was a day of contrasts. We had some heat, some cold, rain, even colder conditions into the descent of Bocca della Selva… we got to the front to avoid any crashes, but when you’re leading the pack into such a tricky situation, with those wet roads, it’s inevitable that the peloton splits and some people are left further behind. It wasn’a move to get people caught out of balance, but just a way of keeping ourselves safe. The stage got ‘ironically’ decided after that downhill: when Wellens and Ligthart attacked with Didier, everyone in the peloton pretty much agreed it had no sense to keep them on a leash, considering they were way back in the GC, so the stage-winning chances for the peloton ended there.
“In the finale, my body felt a little bit strange. It’s not that I was doing bad into the climb, but I wasn’t going as good as I’d have really liked. All in all, our deficit to Dumoulin across the line wasn’t so significant, and we put some terrain into Landa and Nibali. I’m happy with the day’s result. Dumoulin saying he wasn’t coming for the GC? We all knew those quotes were only a means to distract the enemy. We’re all sufficiently professional and we know how he’s doing and what he’s worth . He’s doing great and he remains a rival to take pretty much into account.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
“I think our tactics were wrong, apart from the first part with Fuglsang, because that was what we wanted to do. I maybe put too much trust in the words I was getting over the radio and I made a move at the wrong time,”.
“Today’s tactics changed during the stage. I was going to wait for the finale because we knew this wasn’t a climb that suits me very well. But then they told me that if I was good, I should have a go. I had a go, but really I should have sat on and waited.”
“My sensations were good. If not, I wouldn’t have tried that attack, and even after having a go, I was able to stay up there with the faster guys for a finish like this,” Nibali said. “These are very explosive finishes for fast riders. We have to wait for the high mountains where the gradients are steeper. This didn’t have an extreme gradient. It was fine on the wheels today but it was hard out in the wind.”
Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha)
“The stage was hard, but the team supported me so well. At the beginning of the final climb I did not feel so good. There was a strong wind over there, but Pavel Kochetkov provided me precaucious help. Pavel protected me from the wind. Later on I started to feel better. In the last few kilomters there was a head wind. Nibali was the first to attack. When I saw Dumoulin and Pozzovivo counterattacking, I decided to follow their moves. In the final I did my best to finish as high as possible.”
Mikel Landa (Sky)
“It was a difficult stage but I’m optimistic about the future and I’m sure that in a couple of days I’ll manage to get better and get those great feelings back and be in the thick of the battle again.”
Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl – Jumbo)
“The way the team is riding together is great. All the guys are very strong and I never have to deliver too much. That makes it a lot easier for me. I have to do it by myself in the final part of the race and I feel good about the way I did so today. The only thing that I can blame myself for is that I wasn’t attentive enough when Tom Dumoulin (Giant – Alpecin) attacked. It wasn’t as steep at the end of the climb so I didn’t want to spend too much power on that part of the climb. I was expecting Astana to bridge towards the group with Dumoulin, as well. The damage isn’t too big anyway, so I’m satisfied about today.”
Bob Jungels (Etixx – Quick-Step)
“I think today a lot of things changed. It was the first real mountain stage where I think all of the favourites were on the limit. It was a tough day with the rain. Everyone was freezing on the downhill, so it’s been a tough day.
“I’m really happy to still be in this [white] jersey and to be up front in the GC, of course.
“It was the plan to work and stay safe. When you are riding in front then it is more safe than being behind. We’ve shown great things from the first day until now. I think we will just continue like this.
“Feeling-wise, I didn’t have my best day but when I looked at the results, I was not that bad. I’m happy right now.”
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