“It was super tough up there. I didn’t realise it was going to be so hard but my team put me in a perfect position coming into the climb and I started the climb at front. My teammate went to the front but I knew it was a little early, so I dropped back a few spots onto Degenkolb’s wheel. He went at probably the right time but I waited and waited, and then got over him on the last steep bit. It turned out perfect.
“It’s an incredible feeling. This is by far the biggest victory of my career. When I crossed the line there was so much emotion, I was so happy. It means a lot to me to beat two of the best sprinters in the world and that finish really suited them and they’re strong. I knew it would be tough to beat them but I felt good and my team did an awesome job and delivered me perfectly.”
New race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)
“I think I delayed the podium ceremony because I was already on my way to the team bus and drinking from my recovery bottle. Then I heard on the radio that I had the red jersey. It was really not the plan today because I was helping John Degenkolb for the sprint. That didn’t work out and so I was a bit pissed after the finish but now I’m here in the leader’s jersey. It’s great! After my crash in the Tour de France, it’s something It’s great to wear the leader’s jersey.
“I’m going to defend it for sure. It’s a nice surprise, an unexpected surprise. We’re going to try to defend it as long as possible. I won’t give it up without a fight. We’ll see how long I can keep it. There’s a time trial after the second rest day and that was my main goal for this Vuelta but first I’m trying to enjoy and defend this jersey.”
“It was a technical, hard sprint and so perfect for me. But today I didn’t have good legs. I had a perfect position from the last corner but I messed up the sprint and that was my fault. I can only thank the team because they did a good job and put me in the perfect position. But maybe I tried too hard to keep up yesterday and lost a bit today. But everything can happen, the Vuelta is still long.
“Unfortunately every stage seems suits me and so I can only try. I won one stage and so I had nothing to lose.
“For sure the heat is not good for me. I think tomorrow won’t be an easy day but I’ll try to save some energy for the next few days.”
“It’s a great win, especially for Caleb, he’s brand new at Grand Tours and he’s already showed he’s ready for next step. It’s awesome.”
“There two stages for him here at the Vuelta and he wanted to make amends for missing out the other day. The last part of the stage was very hard but the final was very smooth after some great work for the team. We’ll have lots of champagne tonight!”