Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors – stage winner)
(Was the stage suited to you perfectly?) No - to be honest not at all. Actually on paper it looked less hard, especially from 3 to 2km to the finish. But we decided to go for it full, the whole team, except of course for de la Cruz. The guys were incredible, it was amazing. Everbody did his job and gave everything they had, 100 per cent. When the team is like this you have to finish off the work they do.
It’s amazing, because I came in this race with confidence but I never expected something like this. Even for the team the Vuelta is not finished, we are betting for more.
Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors)
It was almost exactly as we planned. We had to control the whole day because Matteo has been riding so well at this Vuelta. He was also the top favourite. The guys did an amazing job to control it. In the final, it was pretty hard with the steep climb. I was there until 3km. Matteo was still there with the guys at the front and in the end he did it. It’s amazing how Matteo finished the job, because you can have a strong team but you have to finish it. He’s extremely strong.
He showed how strong he was so it also gives us confidence to do our best to bring him into a good position. If you have doubts about your captain then you don’t give 110 per cent but we all did. This was a team effort and he finished the job.
Gianni Moscon (Team Sky – second on the stage)
It was not a typical sprint. We tried to stay at the front and in the last kilometres we found ourselves in a good position. It’s a shame for the second place but the team did a strong ride and it was ok.
It was good. We had to do a big job for Froome, he’s in good shape and we believe in him 100 per cent. Today, there was a small chance for me and it was fine at the end.
There aren’t any sprint stages in the next days. Today was hard because there were a lot of small climbs in the final four kilometres. Now we are really focused on the climbs.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) - winner of combativity prize
The chances were small but we had a good breakaway group. Gougeard and De Marchi aren't bad riders, they aren't small riders and they also go in the break a lot.
We had a chance, but it was a small one. We tried to go the last 80km as fast as possible, but with the headwind it was very difficult to have good speed. We didn't have a big gap.
(On Villella's brief appearance in the breakaway) I didn't even sprint for the mountains jersey. He came to me and asked if I would sprint, and I said he could take it. For me, the mountains jersey is not an objective anymore. I knew he was going to sprint and go back to the bunch. That's bad luck.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) - race leader
I was just up there to make sure I wasn't getting [caught behind] any splits. I was more excited to see where Moscon was in the finish. He did such a great job looking after me in the final, I said to him in the last k 'go, go, go - try to get the stage'. I think if he wasn't doing so much work for me he would have had an even better chance of winning the stage.
In the last k, I saw how fresh he looked, how strong he looked. I was in a safe position and so I didn't need his help anymore, so I said just go for it. I think his time will come for sure. He's young, this is his first Grand Tour, and already to be riding the way he is, it's extremely impressive.
(Recovered from your crash) I think so. It hasn't affected me too badly. Sure, it's painful, but the race goes on.
(Surprised to hear he gained time on De la Cruz) As I said, I was pretty sure there would be splits in the final, that was the reason for me to stay up front.
I have the weekend in mind, and obviously it was an easier day for the team. We didn't have to pull all the stage, with Quick-Step, Lotto and Cannondale wanting to sprint. It was a good day for us.
Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)
It was good. It was a flat stage, but a Spanish flat. In the beginning it was really hard with the rolling roads. Then the final started and the team was really good, we were focused. I think me and Soren went perfect in the last roundabout and then Soren tried to attack and then he still sprinted to third place. It was great.
It was a hard stage with the temperature, so it was not a really easy stage. In the end it was good. I think the team brought me and Soren into a perfect position.
Gorazd Stangelj (Bahrain-Merida sports director)
I wouldn’t say that it was an easy day because you saw that there was a very high average speed. It was a windy day and for the whole day it was a single line. The breakaway riders were riding very strong. The sprinters teams were pulling very hard so for the whole day it was a single row, taking care and staying in position. The finish line was also very tricky. As you saw, there were some gaps and some riders lost some time. We didn’t, we finished with Vincenzo in the front. I think he was sixth in the stage, which wasn’t usual for him but this is the way if you don’t want to lose any time. It also shows that he’s got good legs.
This morning they were thinking about tomorrow, but during today’s stage they were only thinking about today’s stage. For some, it was even harder than a climb. We all know that the climbers are suffering on the flat with the side winds, high speeds and so on.
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