Chaves in the front split as the GC battle begins on day two in Pais Vasco

Today’s ‘easier’ second stage in Vuelta al Pais Vasco proved to be a tough one with the final climb, La Asturiana, causing the peloton to fragment and the GC battle to commence. Team BikeExchange leader Esteban Chaves maintained a good position up and over the climb as the attacks began, finishing the day in the front selection for 19th place.

On the decent, it was Astana Premier-Tech that profited, with Alex Aranburu attacking and holding of the chasing group to take the stage victory and move up overall. 

Chaves crossed the line in the chasing group amongst his GC rivals just 19 seconds down on the day’s winner, with an important summit finish stage coming tomorrow.

Esteban Chaves 
“I felt good, and I was happy to arrive with the group of favourites. We thought it was a climb that the sprinters could pass but it was way too hard. It is a different type of race compared to Catalunya, here it is really aggressive, up and down and a lot of road furniture.

In the first hour I was like wow what is this, it is a different type of race completely and hopefully we will go day-by-day better. We are still with GC ambitions in the head and tomorrow will be a really good effort for us. I think in Basque Country every day is super hard.”

Julian Dean – Sport Director 
“The whole day was really aggressive, it’s all day left, right, up, down and having that aggression throughout the whole day really took its toll by the last climb. 

It was maybe abit more selective than we anticipated, we still knew that may happen and we had Esteban there and he was able to be in the front and conserve some time and get ready for the next days, especially tomorrow.” 

2021 Vuelta al Pais Vasco – Stage 2 results:
1. Alex Aranburu 3:45:32
2. Omar Fraile +0:15
3. Tadej Pogacar +0:15
19. Esteban Chaves +0:19

Photo courtesy of Getty Images