**Mikel Nieve (Team Sky), stage winner: “Our priority now is to win stages”
“It was a plan that after Mikel Landa abandoned we had the obligation to win a stage. Today it was possible and we tried full gas since the start. With Landa going, it was very disappointing. The team had a little lower morale, and we just wanted to win stages .
“After getting in the break I found myself in good form. I was climbing well, but the ascents were very complicated. Thankfully I was able to get out on my own, it’s better than being with someone.
“I’m very happy. It’s been almost five years since I last won a stage at the Giro d’Italia [Gardeccia 2011]. We will try again [for a stage win]. We won today, tomorrow is also hard, and we will try during all the mountain stages. Our priority now is to win stages.”
Andrey Amador (Movistar), the new leader of the race: “Alejandro Valverde is very strong and my move to the top spot doesn’t change anything”
“That was our first approach to the mountains and the final climb didn’t really suit me, so I was a little bit further back. I was able to catch back up and defend by taking the pink jersey. Alejandro [Valverde] is in a good position, everything is intact, and now we move into the tough mountain stages and we will see what we can do.
“They have always supported me in Costa Rica so this jersey is dedicated to all of them. I didn’t have the legs I wanted to have today but Alejandro was very strong. I was just trying to get up the last climb steadily at my own rhythm and I am really happy I was able to make it back on.”
“I’m delighted to have the maglia rosa. I’ll do my best to enjoy this experience. The truth is that Alejandro Valverde is very strong and my move to the top spot doesn’t change anything. He’s our captain and I’m racing for him. We have two very hard days ahead. Tomorrow it’ll be one of the queen stages. It’s great to go into it with the maglia rosa.”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “We all had a good look at each other today”
“The team was phenomenal today. We were represented in all the breaks. We had Giovanni who was second and Andrey in pink so we are really happy.
We all had a good look at each other today. I saw Nibali was in a good condition. He ended up getting two seconds on me but the Giro won’t be decided on those two seconds.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): “We tried to make the race by attacking on the penultimate climb”
“The final sprint went well for me in the end. There was a headwind and Alejandro went from distance but I timed my effort right”.
“We tried to make the race by attacking on the penultimate climb. Scarponi laid down a very high rhythm there and again on the final climb, trying to make the race hard, but it wasn’t easy,” Nibali said.
“Amador wasn’t as sharp today, he really suffered a lot. There was an acceleration from Valverde, and then I had a go myself, but it stayed together.
“After that, it was dangerous on the descent and there was even one point where I lost my grip a bit. But we were all watching one other and there was no point in taking big risks because you could crash and lose the entire Giro on a descent like that.”
Bob Jungels (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I was definintely suffering on those climbs”
“It was a really hard stage – right from the beginning but we were able to keep the breakaway group at a good distance. I was definintely suffering on those climbs. With my bodyweight it’s hard to keep up with those guys on those gradients. I was lucky enough to find Brambilla on the last descent then I just gave it everything to lose as little time as possible.
On becoming more of a climber: “The thing is, I’m pretty convinced you can’t change your body. Either it comes with the years or I will continue like this. I consider myself a good bike rider and despite my weight I don’t climb badly.
Plans for rest of Giro d’Italia: “I’m not a defensive rider so you never know.”
Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge): “It was full gas all day”
“It was full gas all day” said Chaves. “The important thing is not to lose any time and stay with the other favourites and we showed again today that we can do that.”
“I attacked once on the final climb to see how the other guys were and we were all together. The other guys did the same a bit later but it didn’t break up. Tomorrow is a really hard stage so we will see what happens.”
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