Chaves an emotional second on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia

Wed 29 May 2019

Colombian Esteban Chaves has finished an emotional second place on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, a spirited result after his comeback from sickness last year. 

The 2016 Giro d’Italia runner up spent nine months away from racing after being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr after last year’s Italian Grand Tour. 

Despite still returning to his best form, today’s result to finish behind winner Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) from the breakaway is a positive sign for Chaves and Mitchelton-SCOTT.

A day for the break:
A fast downhill kicked off proceedings on stage 17, before an uncategorised climb allowed a breakaway to form. 

Chaves made the initial move of 11 on the climb, before a second group bridged across on the descent to make 18 up front.  The peloton let the elastic snap and their advantage grew to over five minutes, with the bunch only keen to protect their top-10 positions.

Whilst the group initially worked together, the attacks began on the penultimate climb with Chaves initially distanced.  Staying calm, Chaves worked his way back to the front.

Peters was the first to attack before Chaves joined Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) and Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) in the chase on the uphill finish to the line. 

The trio trailed by one-minutes before Conti and Neilands dropped off the pace leaving Chaves to chase alone in the last four kilometres. Despite a brave chase, the 29-year-old couldn’t close the gap, settling for second place.

GC splits on the run in to the line:
Whilst the stage battle was run and won, the action continued behind with attacks from Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) causing splits between the general classification contenders. 

Mitchelton-SCOTT leader Simon Yates was on the wrong side of them, but was surrounded by teammates in his final push to the line and eventually maintained eighth overall. 

Esteban Chaves:
“Second is good but also you have this strange taste in your mouth. But anyway, we will continue to try until the end of the Giro. 

“It’s beautiful but it’s a lot of suffering as well. I am not 100% in my best shape but I have to try and I believe in myself.

“I dropped in the second last climb but I just kept riding, kept believing, I’m got back in the group and I played my cards.  

“The first objective for the stages to go is of course to keep Simon as high as possible on the general classification. And, Mikel (Nieve), (Lucas) Hamilton and myself to look to go in breakaways, like we did today, to be there to drop back if Simon needs or try for the stage ourselves.” 

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“It was a close call, it was our fourth second-place. We said we came here to race and we’ve continued with that trend today. 

“We wanted someone in the breakaway to try to win the stage and Esteban was the man for today. We gave 100% and we came up a little bit short but not through a lack of trying.

“The other boys looked after Simon incredibly well and to have two teammates in the final, that has saved him some valuable seconds on the run into the line with Lucas and Mikel being there.” 

Giro d’Italia – Stage 17 Results:
1. Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) 4:41:34
2. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:34
3. Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:51 

Giro d’Italia – General Classification after Stage 17:
1. Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) 74:48:18
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +1:54
3. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma) +2:16
8. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +7:13

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.