Chaves back in the top ten after finishing ninth in Sestola

Tue 17 May 2016

Esteban Chaves produced another solid performance for ORICA-GreenEDGE on stage ten of the Giro d’Italia today crossing the line just ahead of the other favourites on the summit finish in Sestola to return to the top ten in the general classification.

The Colombian climber looked comfortable when the final selection was made with around 30kilometres left to race on a mountainous stage ten that included over 4,000metres of elevation gain over 219kilometres.

Chaves climbed and descended and then climbed again before attacking close to the finish slightly breaking up the select group of race favourites who all finished around two minutes down on stage winner Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF).

Ciccone’s winning move came from the fragmentation of the day’s earlier breakaway with the young Italian managing to stay out front and hold on for the win.

Sport director Matt White was happy with the performance of Chaves and the team on an important first test in the mountains.

“I expected today’s stage to heat up more than it actually did,” said White. “Looking at the parcours it had the potential to be a really significant stage for the general classification but in the end we didn’t see it.”

“It is the riders who dictate the racing and it took a long time for the break to get away and by that point in the race the whole field was racing quite negatively.

“We rode perfectly as team today. All the guys did a great job supporting Esteban (Chaves) going into the final climbs and from then on Esteban did very well to stay controlled and finish up there at the front.

“We are happy with how things are going for us after ten days of racing. We are in the position we wanted to be in at this stage of the race with another long stage coming up tomorrow.”

How it happened:

A beautiful sunny Tuscan morning welcomed the riders to the start in Campo Bisenzio near Florence with 219kilometres ahead of them traversing the central Italian Apennine Mountains.

The first real mountain stage of this year’s race began at rather a pedestrian pace with a few tentative attacks attempting to break away but without anything sticking.

After 30kilometres the field was still together and tackling the first climb of the day, the Passo della Collina, near Prato and Pistoia, the region known in Italy as the ‘University of Cycling’.

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) attacked on the descent and was followed by two other riders and the trio developed a lead of over minute on the peloton that was beginning to split apart after the climb.

A chase group including Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini-Fantini) broke clear of the Astana led peloton and set off in pursuit of the Visconti group. With around 150kilometres left to race there were three groups on the road with over six minutes separating the head of the race from the tail.

The Cunego group was caught by the first peloton after enjoying only ten kilometres of the freedom of the chase with a second fragmented group of riders that included Mikel Landa (Team-Sky) still behind the main bunch and losing time.

An hour later and Landa was forced to abandon the race after losing more than six minutes as the field approached the second climb of the day, the category three Pietracolora, after 67kilometres of racing.

For the next 50 or 60kilometres the race remained divided by three groups with the peloton around five minutes down on the trio out front and a group of ten chasers inbetween, around three minutes ahead of the bunch.

The Visconti group was caught by the ten chasers near the climb to Pavullo nel Frignano with around 70kilometres to go.

The thirteen riders now had five minutes 40seconds on the peloton but with over 2,000 altitude metres still to climb and the ominous ascent of the Pian del Falco in the final 30kilometres it was going to be difficult to stay clear.

Etixx-Quickstep were leading the chase from the peloton for race leader Gianluca Brambilla and with the field strung out behind them they reduced the deficit to four minutes 45seconds with 60kilometres to go

Into the last 40kilometres and the race continued to fragment with the breakaway group of thirteen falling apart completely on the rolling roads towards the penultimate climb of the day, the long Pian del Falco.

Seventeen kilometres in length, with an average gradient of 5-6% and a maximum of 13%, riders were being dropped out the back of the peloton as selections were beginning to be made on the slopes of the brutal climb.

The reduced peloton were now under four minutes behind Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin) who raced alone at the head of the race with the scattered remnants of the breakaway between him and the bunch.

With 17kilometres to go a select group of favourites including Chaves for ORICA-GreenEDGE and Vincenzo NIbali (Astana) broke free from the bunch and intensified the chase to the leaders.

Over worsening gradients the Preidler group was coming back together with the favourites closing in behind as pink jersey holder Brambilla lost contact with the Chaves group.

The final 14kilometres were made up of a fast, technical decent then a sharp seven kilometre climb up to the finish in Sestola. Brambilla regained contact with the Chaves group in time for the final climb after embarking on a full speed descent. The favourites were now still two minutes 20seconds behind the leaders with seven kilometres remaining and were now closely marking each other.

Up the road Ciccone was about to cross the line for the stage win after proving himself the strongest from the day’s earlier breakaway group.

Brambilla led the favourites up the climb until the last two kilometres with teammate Bob Jungels taking over as the group of twenty riders crested the climb together with Chaves attacking in the final metres to take ninth place on the stage and tenth on the provisional general classification.

Tomorrow's stage eleven covers 227kilometres from Modena to Asolo. The first 200kilometres are pan flat across the Po valley until the steep climb to Forcella Mostaccin 25kilometres from the finish, before following rolling roads to the short final climb to the line in Asolo.

Giro d’Italia stage ten results:

1. Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) 05:44:32
2. Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff) 00:00:42
3. Darwin Atapuma (BMC) 00:01:20
9. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:02:11 

General classification after stage ten:

1. Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep) 40:19:52
2. Andrey Amador (Movistar) 00.00:50
3. Alejandro Vlaverde (Movistar) 00:00:50
9. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:02:26