We thought that the race could be over because Alex was so strong yesterday; today, he paid for his efforts. We did all we could to bring down the gap in the finale: we wanted Alex to stay in the top ten overall, so it was still to play for in tomorrow's time-trial. We lost a little bit too much time, but it was clear he was tired.
I hit the front after 140 kilometres for the part with the wind and small climbs and did okay, we took back a few minutes. It's difficult to take that break back; when you have six riders, it's hard to manage the race.
The gap went up to nine minutes because other teams weren't working. They have to understand that a team of six can't ride on the front all day long. Instead, everyone should ride hard all day, better than going too softly at the start. It's an error all the squads often make. We never learn. And so, we couldn't do it any differently.
Was it one of the hardest days of my career? No, it was good training for me, as my big goal is the world championships road race [in Ponferrada]. Pulling on the front for 70, 80 kilometres helped.
Alex is of course disappointed, perhaps he expected to have more strength with the jersey and to recover more from yesterday. But with the long stage, the wind and little rises, he was tired. Tomorrow, with the time-trial, he can go for the podium again.
It's a tough race to control. One day a break makes it; the next, another does. There's such a quality field here and strong riders. it's not easy. In my opinion, we did all we could.
Giovanni Visconti was speaking to Rouleur's Andy McGrath.