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Reaction from Vuelta's final stage

By:
Les Clarke
Published:
September 21, 2009, 1:11 BST,
Updated:
September 21, 2009, 2:15 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 21, 2009
Race:
Vuelta a España, Stage 21
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto) made up the 2009 Vuelta a Espana podium.

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto) made up the 2009 Vuelta a Espana podium.

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Party time as engaging battle concludes in Madrid

Philip Deignan (Cervélo TestTeam) - 39th on stage, ninth overall @ 11:08

"It was a lot better than I expected. I thought top 20, so it's way more than I expected. I am very happy. It's a lot to build on for the next few years, so hopefully I can improve on it. The stage win was a bit more special than the GC, especially the stage that it was and how I won it."

"The team had really big belief in me from the start. I was the second GC guy behind Marchante, but he had a few bad days, so his GC hopes went out the window. They had a lot of faith in me and told me, 'you can do it,' and they really supported me. They helped me to start believing in myself.

"The stage to Sierra Nevada was definitely the worst stage. I had some stomach problems that day, but I got through it."

"[Stephen] Roche is on a completely different level. It's been a while since an Irish guy was up there, so it feels nice. I didn't know anything about cycling when they were up there, it's only now in the past few years and I've been looking back to what Roche and [Sean] Kelly achieved, it's incredible what they did."

André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) - first on stage, 107th overall @ 2:36:32 - points classification winner

"With two kilometres to go I was a bit far back, but [teammate] Greg Henderson did a brilliant job taking me through to the front end of the bunch. It was a bit uphill so I waited a little longer than usual for accelerating away for the finish. Everybody in the team helped. I was just the lucky one who got to cross the line in first place."

"The green jersey was very difficult to get because this was such a mountainous Vuelta, but in the build-up to the sprints I could count on a lot of support from my teammates, and that made all the difference.

"I had the best lead-out of all of the sprinters here, particularly thanks to my [Columbia-HTC] teammates Marcel Sieberg and Greg Henderson. I came to this Tour of Spain thinking I could maybe win one stage, and I came away with four and the team got five. Plus I won the points classification. That's amazing."

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) - 26th on stage, first overall

"It is useless to say that I feel immensely happy. I was convinced about the fact that I was able to win a three-week race some day but to be convinced was not sufficient. I had to achieve this goal, this dream.

I listened to my director Eusebio Unzúe’s pieces of advice. Instead of wasting forces to try and win a few stages, I preferred to save energy to concentrate myself only on the general classification and at the end my efforts were rewarded. I thank all my team-mates for their great job. They were at my side every day and never made a mistake.

"Those three weeks have been very hard but all the efforts and all the sacrifices I did were really the worthwhile. The day I put on my first yellow jersey after the stage of Xorret de Catí, to climb on the podium was a great moment of emotion. From then on my dream was each day closer. I therefore never stopped fighting and concentrating, not even for a while.

"To cross the finishing line in Madrid with this jersey on the shoulders and know that this Vuelta is now really mine is an emotion that is impossible to describe. I learned a lot from the errors I made in the past but now I showed that I am a rider able to win three-week major tours. In the future I will fight to try and win another one."

Roger Hammond (Cervélo TestTeam) - eighth on stage, 97th overall @ 2:22:26

"There was another crash with 300-400 metres to go. You could see it happening. From seven laps out, I knew it was going to be a massive crash. What do they expect when they have a 75km/h downhill into a turn with 500 metres to go?"

"It's a nice feeling [to finish the Vuelta]. It's something I wanted to do in my career, but I was waiting for the right time. I'm glad I waited this long to do it with this team. I have no regrets about not doing one in my career until now."

Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) - 27th on stage, fifth overall @ 4:27

Taking into account all the circumstances; the fall and the penalty of 20 seconds in the Sierra Nevada before the time trial in Toledo, I was close to the podium positions. I cannot complain, although it is true that, after taking fifth in 2007 and fourth last year I had high expectations. People wanted more, as did I. It's a thorn in my side not getting on the podium and not winning a stage, but the body did not allow for more.

Alejandro Valverde deserved this Tour of Spain and I congratulate him. I've seen that he's been very strong and confident throughout the race and managed to show that you have to know you can overcome the bad days. Samuel Sanchez also had a great performance, was less than, as he usually does, and has completed the highest level.

The Galician fans must be proud of this team [Xacobeo Galicia]; we worked very closely throughout the race, we were present in all the breaks and were protagonists. That issue is not only physical, but also in attitude. All this has resulted in us winning the team standings. It marks an era in Galician cycling.

I was very amazed with the encouragement from all those at the Tour of Spain. In the time trial in Toledo, as I was warming up it gave me goose bumps when I heard all the cries of people cheering for me. I've been blown away. I greatly appreciate all those people who who were also at the roadside. They gave me much motivation at critical moments in the race.

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