Tour de France stage 17 - Finish line quotes

What the riders had to say in Finhaut-Emosson

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) - stage winner

"I did my best today. I'm very happy now. Thanks to my teammates for the support. This result for me is no surprise because I tried and I won. It's a dream."

Chris Froome (Team Sky) - overall leader

"I'm pretty happy with my day. It's always difficult to know what will happen after a day of rest but I felt pretty good. I was completely surrounded by teammates. I wanted to stay up with the best and watch everyone, it was not planned to attack but I saw the opportunity to take time on my rivals and it worked, so I'm in a good position.

"Richie is one of the very best riders in the world. Today he again proved that he is in his place when he is fighting for a place on the podium. He made an incredible race.

"Things can still happen and tomorrow the time trial will be a big deal."

Richie Porte (BMC):

"It was a good day. I really want to be on the podium, so these are the moves you have to pull. I felt strong today, and I'm happy with how it all went. It's different for me, being on BMC and riding for myself. It's a bit different from the role I had before. I'm enjoying it, taking it day by day. The team put confidence in me, and I am happy with how today went, but there are three hard days before Paris. I'll take it day by day.

"I spoke with the directors this morning, they said to me 'just use your head, if you feel like it attack him [Chris Froome]'. I have to anyhow, the tempo was not so fast and it was a good time to get a gap like that. They chased hard, so that was a good sign.

"To be honest I wasn't looking at anyone else. I thought [Nairo] Quintana was the one who was going to go, so I sat on his wheel. But I wasn't aware of what was happening behind. It was a good attack and Froome was the only that came with me. I think it's a good day.”

What about tomorrow's time trial, are you confident now?

"I quite like uphill time trials and it's a crucial one tomorrow. I know I need to have a good time trial, to try to take some more time. I've shown today that I'm climbing well, so I take confidence out of today."

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky):

"It was quite a fast start. When Nibali really raised it toward the top of the penultimate climb, for me it was a bit too much to follow, I was overheating and got dropped and rode a steady tempo.

"I think the strength and depth we have is massive for us. If someone is having a bad day, there are three other guys who are feeling good. Another day ticked off."

Tanel Kangert (Astana):

"Zakarin was strong and he really deserves it. He is one of the few guys who is still going strong after the Giro. Our tactics were to attack today on the penultimate climb. I don't exactly know what they did behind but it seems like Fabio [Aru] was going quite good. Personally, I'm just really tired after the Giro and couldn't help him as much as I would have liked. There are days when I feel better days that are worse, and today was a bad day.

"The whole team of Sky is going strong, controlling the race from start to finish and it is really hard to break them. We will still keep going and maybe one day they will crack. There are still two more days and we will see what happens."

Mikel Nieve (Team Sky):

"We were working all day and in the final. We had our leader [Chris Froome] in a good position in the race, and he used our work and was able to carry on up the climb, ahead of other teams that could have made the race difficult.

"Chris did really well today and he managed to get more time, so that was a good day today." 

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