Giro d’Italia: Stage 8 reactions
Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step), stage winner and race leader
“This is amazing! My idea at the beginning of the Giro was to focus on today’s stage and I’ve made it but I cannot believe that I’ve done it. I have to thank Matteo Trentin because he did an excellent job. I was the rider who initiated the breakaway but he did most of the work until I rode away in the steep part of the climb. I’m delighted. Everything is going well for me this year. The birth of my daughter Asia twenty days ago has also changed my life. It’s beautiful”.
Matteo Montaguti (AG2R), second on the stage
“Today was a tough day. The break took a while to go because it was hard. We were very scared about the wind and it wasn’t an easy thing to do to get into the break. Brambilla was in fantastic form and of course he was up in the overall standings so it didn’t look like they would let us away. Not everyone was co-operating in the break and then he managed to get some advantage in the end. I wanted to do a great job to win the stage, I tried to attack. I wanted to anticipate Brambilla because I know that he is stronger than me on the climb and I was caught in the last sector. Maybe if I’d stayed in his wheel but it is too easy to say now.”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
“We did a great job today, we managed to make a big gap. We gave everything on the climb and I think that the team did a fantastic job. Everybody that was there in the group with me felt good so a lot of my rivals were good. We tried to get as much time as possible on Dumoulin because of the time trial tomorrow. [Tom] Dumoulin and [Jakob] Fuglsang got dropped but this Giro d’Italia is long”.
“I didn’t expect Dumoulin to have a bad day like that but when he started to struggle, I didn’t doubt about what I needed to do for a single second and I attacked. Tomorrow’s TT will be really demanding, but it’s a route that suits me well; it’s a technical, demanding one. I hope I can limit my losses and maybe gain some more time.”
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)
“At least 20 or 30 riders were better than me today, so it makes not sense to go for GC. Looking at it now, we’re going back to plan A, which was the time trials.”
“Maybe it was just one bad day. Really I can’t say right now, I’m just feeling weak from today. If I have the same legs as today [Saturday], I’m not going to win it, but I hope to recover well.”
Mikel Landa (Sky)
“From the beginning of the stage we had some problems. I picked up a puncture and some riders on the GC rode away so we had to catch them.”
He added: “Day by day I feel like I’m getting back to my best and we have a lot of the Giro in front of us.”
Landa believes tomorrow’s time trial course is reasonably well suited to him and he has been given an extra boost by Pinarello’s new Bolide TT.
“Using the new Pinarello Bolide TT will give me some extra motivation and hopefully it will help me. It’s not a completely flat course. There’s some descending and climbing, a lot of speed changes – that’s good for me.”
Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo)
“I was led out like a sprinter to the foot of the climb. Until that moment, I barely had to do anything and that feels great. I want to be at my very best on the long climbs during the final week of this Giro, so it feels great to be able to follow Nibali and Valverde also on a steep and short climb like today’s.
“My third place in the general classification doesn’t give me extra pressure. Last year, I was 85th at this moment and that was a lot more stressful. I’m already in good position and I’m feeling confident. I’m approaching tomorrow’s time trial as a chance to win more time on my competitors, as well.”
Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha)
“Yeah, it was a very tough day. We started under the rain, while the pace of the race was really high. There were a lot of attacks, the group split in several parts. But, finally, everything went ok. The team was strong and I had a very good support. On the last climb of the day I felt quite good. I tried to be attentive and concentrated, following the others GC contenders. I did my best and could stay in the main group until the finish. I think the stage went good for me. Tomorrow is a very important stage, which will mean a lot in this Giro. So, I hope to recover from today and to be ready 100% for the time trial”.