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Ivan Basso on his way to victory
Giro contenders talk after difficult 15th stage
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) - second on stage, fifth overall @ 4:43:
"Basso took me by surprise. He was the best of all of us today. He maintained his rhythm and I kept mine - and his was a bit faster. We'll see what happens in the next few days."
Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) - sixth on stage, fourth overall @ 4:21:
"It was a very important day for me; a day that I was wary of as although it wasn't a day in which I could have won the Giro, I could have lost my chances after the problems that have affected me throughout this race.
"It was a really tough and fast stage. The passes were short but steep and the Liquigas team kept up a hard pace. Basso took advantage of the opportunity that his team gave him thanks to his great physical shape at the moment, winning the stage and creeping forward in the general classification.
"Today once again we saw a very strong Liquigas. Yesterday it was Nibali winning, today it was Basso. They're the strongest right now in the race and will be a big rival.
"The rest day tomorrow couldn't come at a better moment. The first 15 days of this Giro have been crazy, with surprises every day. Anything can happen in the final week. This Giro isn’t over yet."
Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) - stage winner, third overall @ 3:33:
"It's a victory that means a lot to me: a reward for all the sacrifices, training and all the difficulties I have encountered on my way over the last four years. Today's win is a very strong signal to my adversaries and my teammates, too.
"My team was fantastic today: 150 [kilometres] at the front of the bunch without saving any energy to save themselves, and the first to congratulate me was just Vincenzo Nibali, yesterday's winner at Asolo; I consider him the future of Italian cycling in relation to stage races."
Linus Gerdemann (Team Milram) - 26th on stage, ninth overall @ 7:12:
"I knew beforehand that this closing climb was up a mountain [Monte Zoncolan] which didn't suit me, so early on the closing climb I decided to ride my own rhythm. I did that quite well and think I can be satisfied with the results."
David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) - 11th on stage, leads overall:
"It was a very hard stage; the gaps between myself and favourites like Evans, Vinokourov and Nibali were reasonable considering the dificulty of the stage.
"Basso has proved intractable and made a remarkable surge, which is highlighted by the gap he put into Evans, Vinokourov and Scarponi, reflecting how strong he was on the climb.
"Maintaining the lead after the rest day is still a dream, so I will keep fighting until the end."
Xavier Tondo (Cervélo TestTeam) - 46th on stage, 21st overall @ 23:47:
"I was hoping to be better today. In the end, it's the first Grand Tour that I've lasted so long and everything is adding up.
This week I was sick. I couldn't say it before, but I was taking antibiotics. I had a very bad night on Tuesday going into Wednesday. I wasn't able to recover normally after the stages. Well, so now we'll do what we can to try to win this Giro for Carlos."