Giro d’Italia: Stage 16 reactions

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), stage winner: “We really wanted to break the race up”

“We really wanted to break the race up and we wanted create some mischief. That’s what we did.

It’s a good day for me as I move up in the overall ranking, although I wanted a stage win as a gift for the mechanics, soigneurs, directors, my family… all the people who have helped me overcome the day I had on Saturday because of the altitude. It was only one bad day though. I rode the time trial as well as I could have hoped. It’s a great feeling to win for the first time at the Giro d’Italia.

There are still two big stages to come and I’m happy how my Giro is going. The team is strong and now were even first in team competition, too. I’m enjoying the Giro and I now regret not coming before. Now I’m happy to be here.”

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo), race leader: “I didn’t expect so much action the day after the rest day”

“Second yet again! I wanted to give my team a win but it’s an ideal situation for the maglia rosa as I’m now three minutes ahead of Esteban Chaves and the others. I was feeling really good so I had to make the best of this short but really hard stage. I had to follow [Vincenzo] Nibali when he attacked early in the stage. I didn’t expect so much action the day after the rest day.”

Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE): “These explosive stages are always dangerous”

“I probably made a mistake underestimating the attack,” said Chaves. “Thanks to my teammates we managed to save the day. I’m really thankful for how they rode for me and I managed to keep the pace on the last climb.”

“These explosive stages are always dangerous and I definitely tip my hat to Steven (Kruijswijk). One more day done and we are ready to fight on.”

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha): “On the second climb I felt pretty good”

“We started the first climb very fast, there were a lot of attacks to go in the break. Finally, a group of 6 went away. Later closer to the top Nibali attacked with Valverde and Kruijswijk and I followed them. We caught the front break and continued to work on the descent. On the second climb I felt pretty good, so I tried to attack and finally three of us went – I was with the maglia rosa Kruijswijk and Valverde. I knew I could gain some time today and I did my best on both climbs, especially in the final. I did all I could. I was able to get time and to move up in GC. There are still a few hard stages ahead and I will continue step by step”.

Bob Jungels (Etixx – Quick-Step): “On climbs like these I can go in a high rhythm from the bottom to the top”

“I’ve seen last year in the Tour that the last week is pretty good for me. Already yesterday I felt pretty good.

I gave it a try in the first climbs where we had a lot of attacks. Then there was the group, and it was full gas all day long. In the end I just kept going my rhythm. That’s my weakness and my strength – I cannot accelerate and stop and accelerate like the real climbers. But on climbs like these I can go in a high rhythm from the bottom to the top.

I’m seventh now I think. I don’t know what I can do. If I finish seventh here it would be amazing. There are two more really hard stages to come, which go really high up in altitude. I really hope the weather will be OK, because that will be a big point. If we have snow, it would be a pity. It would change the fairness of the race. I really hope we can do the stages properly.”

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida)

“I’m satisfied, I realized a good performance in a stage which was demanding and which was raced at a very high pace. The climbs were very demanding, they were suitable for pure climbers, however and I pedaled for the whole stage with the top riders, thanks to a good condition.”