Reactions from the Vuelta's 19th stage

Tough finish favours an in form Philippe

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) - sixth on stage, overall leader: "Yesterday Federico Bahamontes came to the start and described today's stage finale to me. I'm grateful for that because it helped me.

"Knowing what it was like, I put myself at the front in the last ten kilometres with Daniele Bennati close to me all the time, so I felt safe. I've seen a gap was being created, so I went full gas.

To gain 12 seconds in such a short distance is a big bonus before tomorrow. I feel much better with a 50-second margin, although I know Bola del Mundo is going to be hard."

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - stage winner, 45th overall @ 1:15:30: "There was great work by my team all day. I chose not to attack on the climb but stay in the bunch and control until the final ascent.

"Luis Leon Sanchez was the most dangerous guy there but there was a head wind and when I saw Millar doing the hard work of the chase, I was quite happy because I know his skills when it comes to driving the bunch. I've decided to open the sprint for far out. I thought it was the best way to beat Tyler Farrar."

Xavier Florencio (Cervélo TestTeam) - 146th on stage, 99th overall @ 2:23:41: "We had ten minutes' lead but four riders in the break, that was not enough with the headwind we faced.

"When I heard that the teams of the sprinters had gone to the head of the peloton, when I heard HTC-Columbia and Omega Pharma-Lotto, I understood that it was game over."

Konstantin Sivtsov (HTC-Columbia) - 82nd on stage, 38th overall @ 55:45: "I've recovered from my bad sickness on stage eight. For three days after that, I've felt very bad but now I'm okay to work or break away. I'm happy and motivated. Someone had to stay with Peter Velits today but it could be somebody else other than me.

"I haven't been very fortunate this season. At the Tour of the Basque country I broke a collarbone when my handlebar broke in two pieces during my training for time trial. I've been operated on and I managed to come back on time for the Tour de France but only for the role of domestique for Cavendish and Rogers.

"Here as well I've managed to help my leaders but this sickness has prevented me from trying to get a stage win like at the Tour of Italy last year."

Jean-Christophe Péraud (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - 121st on stage, 31st overall @ 41:55: "I've learnt a lot about myself during these three weeks but I know that I prefer the one-week long races. In three weeks, we've time to get bored sometimes.

"I'll keep a great memory of stage nine during which I've virtually been the race leader and at the end of which I was fifth on GC. My worst day has been stage 16 to Cotobello where I lost everything."

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