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Vuelta a Espana stage 16: finish line quotes

Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing), stage winner

“I came here with intentions of a nice classification, then I was involved in a couple of crashes, then of course we had to change the team tactics. We were going to play for some stages because with the crashes I just lost too much time. The team put a lot of pressure on me because we have seen Haimar [Zubeldia] and Markel [Irizar] going in the breakaways. So it was my turn today. We planned to go, we talked about this stage – a lot of reputations of the climbing, it’s good for me. It was a good day for us and for me.

"The confidence is what you saw but you didn’t see what I felt. Of course I was very nervous. He [Torres] was tough, I didn’t know him so well. Fortunately the team in the car, they analysed the race, told me what I had to do. We didn’t really know what Torres could do. It was tough to win this stage, but all the work, all the injuries – today it’s all worth it."

Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), who took the race lead

"It was such a tough stage. The gap is modest. The last two climbs were so difficult so I was thinking and even praying that I could do my best. It was difficult to set a rhythm up there and difficult to know how everyone else was going. Now I’ll have to try and recover for the time trial."

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), who lost less than half a minute

"That was much better than expected. I didn't feel so good on the fist-category climb - it went really fast - but I was never really in trouble and I thought, 'ah we'll give it a go on the last climb'. I had really good legs, to lose 28 seconds is really really good, still everything is open.

"Yesterday I made a mistake - I could have hung on a little bit longer but I went too quickly to my own pace. Today I thought 'ok I’m just going to go and when I blow up I blow up', but I didn't. It was really fast, the battle didn’t even start yet then already Valverde and Chaves were dropped. The speed was so high that it was not possible really to battle against each other. It was very steep. I’m really happy with it.

"That [overall win] will be very difficult. There will become hard stages coming up in the next week, but it's looking good now. Everything depends on the time trial."

Fabio Aru (Astana), who lost the race lead

"It was difficult. I tried my best on the last climb. Soon we’ll have a very important time trial and one second is neither here nor there. That’s how it is. I have to recover, try and get something back in the legs tomorrow, and then see.

"To be honest in the last kilometres I was just following Purito – he was going very fast, we trued to control him, but we weren’t able to match him today, we offer him a lot of respect. It was a big stage."

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), who remains third on GC

"I was a little bit surprised. The last kilometre was a really steep one. When Rodríguez went I tried to follow but he is a specialist for the steep parts and it’s difficult to stay behind him. Aru got some seconds on me but we have a rest day tomorrow and then a long, flat time trial. We need to go fast – I’ll try my best, for my team because they worked perfectly for me today.

"I haven’t done a time trial for almost two months. At the Tour de Suisse and Tour de Romandie I did a good time trial but after two weeks at the Vuelta it’s a bit different. Whoever has the good legs will do well because it’s long and flat. We’ll try our best."

Omar Fraile (Caja-Rural), who consolidated his lead in the mountains classification

"One of the objectives we had was to be in the break today. I was a bit sick this morning but I managed to get in the good break, and I managed to stay up and get the points for most of the day. Every day I try and make the escapes. It’s part of the race and what you need to do. We’ll see what happens over the next few stages."

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