“Yesterday, when I crossed the finish line in Aitana, I finally could feel pure joy and calmness. We had got through a big day, a difficult one, where we could have lost it all. It didn't happen - thanks to the big team that supported me. They helped me out from the very beginning, and all the way through these three weeks. Riders, sports directores, mechanics, carers... the whole group took care of me and remained there for everything I needed. They really deserve this win, they deserve to enjoy this.
I came into this Vuelta with a grudge after not being able to really contest the win in the Tour - yet very calm. The training rides I went on prior to the race showed that my fitness level was good, the data was telling me I could aspire to get a good result, and the team offered me their confidence from the start of the race. It kicked off with a great team time trial, where we lost by barely a fraction of a second, and from the very first week, my team-mates always kept me at the front and fought every single day so I didn't lose terrain on stages that didn't favour me. That was one of the keys to me winning this Vuelta.
At La Camperona, when I took those meters in front of my main rivals, I saw that I was really going strong - then I pledged to dig deep and really go for the GC win. I transferred that confidence to my team, I wanted to let them know I could fight for victory and I needed their support, which I always got. And after Covadonga, and the first leader's jersey, came Formigal, the place where we re-confirmed our condition and intentions. There, the huge job by my team-mates was most visible, fundamental to reach that time advantage that could let me enter the Calpe TT not so stressed and remain in red before Aitana.
This Vuelta win means a whole lot to me. At the Tour, I reached the podium more out of class rather than legs. I didn't feel well in France, yet I found my best condition here. Also, it was a race with almost all all big GC names in the peloton present: a huge Chris Froome; Alberto Contador, who is one you must always keep an eye on; Chaves and Orica... Winning the race this way, and against them, makes it even more valuable."