Giro d'Italia 2019: Stage 7 finish line quotes

Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) – stage winner

"[Making the breakaway] was a little bit improvised. At first Dario [Cataldo] was the man that had to go in the break, but today was really complicated to go in the break. In the end I also started to go in the big groups because we saw that dangerous groups were going. I tried, I had the legs until the end.

"It was a really big advantage [to have Zeits in the breakaway] because Andrey was pulling really hard. That's why we kept a gap to be more relaxed and to only think of the victory. He did impressive.

“I knew I could attack my rivals. Formolo was the rider to beat but I sensed he was feeling the pressure to win. I waited for my DS to tell me when to go and went. It was a long final kilometre but I had something left and could win.

"It was a really important day for me today. It took a long time to get my first victory in a three-week race. This was only possible with a big team like Astana. Thank you to all of the team."

Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates)

"It's been very difficult to retain the Maglia Rosa because it looked like the whole peloton wanted to break away today. There were strong GC riders like Rojas and Bilbao at the front. Luckily UAE Team Emirates is very strong and dedicated too. I'm very happy to keep the lead."

Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos)

"It was really tough, it was really full on. Nobody wanted to let anyone go, i think everyone remembers a few years ago [2010] when Arroyo nearly won the Giro d'Italia. It was a really hard stage, I think at one moment it was a really small group of the favourites so really full on all day. Even when the break went, UAE Team Emirates didn't want to give up the jersey, so it was still hard to the finish line.

"I felt really good today, I feel better and better day by day so that's a good sign, we will see how it goes in the next few days with the TT coming up soon."

Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal)

"The really long stages, I'm not very prepared for them after training for the Hour Record. For the Giro, we're taking it as it comes. It looks easy on paper but everybody says it's a tough first week.

"Yesterday the whole classification reset so today was racing, racing, racing for two hours and after we kept the break within two minutes so it was a hard stage. Totally different to yesterday, which was really long and easy and today wasn't really short, it was four hours but it was hard.

"The TT is coming up and it might be too hard but lets wait and see."

Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-Scott)

"It's only [Lucas Hamilton's] second year as a pro and I think his first Grand Tour. Very impressive he made in the break to begin with, it went a few times to begin with in the first few hours and he finished off nicely there.

"My perception of the peloton was the last wheel, I had the day off today so I sat at the last wheel. I saw Gaviria abandon, De Plus abandon, so obviously a really fast day. I don't know who was making it fast at the front but I think we had it covered with Nieve at the front covering a couple of moves. Then there was a split with Yates on the right side and Roglic behind so it was a nice day."

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) - Abandoned

"I was struggling from the start today and my left knee has been already been hurting for some days. I tried to hang on but I could barely push the pedals. It's a pity because we were doing okay in the sprints and were ready to have another crack.

"The knee pain has complicated things. I'll rest now, take care of the knee pain and come back and build towards the next big goals."

Hugh Carthy (EF Education First)

"A little bit of an opportunity at the end but it was more positioning for the downhill, we didn't know how tricky it was going to be. It was a hard day, fast. I tried to get in a move with a few of the other GC guys after about 80 or 90 kilometres, we were away for around half an hour or so but then it got brought back and another group went. Another day done, hard day but I'm feeling ok.

"The speed was until about 90 kilometres in where it was just racing, then UAE did a good job in controlling and got the gap down before the climb and a few other teams chipped in to help but they stayed away in the end."

Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data)

"It was nasty at the start, the break took almost two hours to go, there was a lot of big groups and a lot of panic. In the end there were a lot of good climbers in there and they only just won I think. I had a flat just before the last climb, which wasn’t ideal but Amanuel (Ghebreigzabhier) and Ryan (Gibbons) dropped back straight away and thanks to them we got back on within two kilometres, pretty much as soon as we hit the climb. I didn’t lose time."

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)

"Today was a really horrible day for the all the sprinters and the helpers, because it went 70 or 80ks full gas to get a breakaway and a lot of guys were dropped. It was just full gas in one line. I think it wasn't an easy day for all the guys."

Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy)

"It was super, super fast the first 90 kilometres on the coast road. I was actually enjoying it but I think after yesterday it was hard for a lot of guys and then it was a hard break with a chance to get the pink jersey. Everyone really raced hard for it and a few bigger groups started going then it was pandemonium, boom, boom, boom it was all going off. It got really grippy when the group was established and UAE started chasing. We had these shorter climbs and technical descents, I thought I was going to give myself a hernia sprinting out of them, it was really hard in there and from then on a grippy, grippy day.

"Just on the climb with about 50 kilometres to go someone called grupetto and I said 'Yep! I'm in!' and then it was kind of semi-relaxed. Fast pace on the valleys but everyone kind of took a chill pill. Hardest day of the Giro so far I think."

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