Chaves climbs to 11th place in his first race of the season in Mitchelton-SCOTT colours

Tue 28 Jul 2020

Colombian climber Esteban Chaves took 11th place on today’s opening stage of Vuelta Burgos, as he and the men’s peloton successfully and safely returned to racing after almost five months away due to COVID-19.

It was Felix Grosschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) who claimed the stage honours in the first race back, finishing eight seconds ahead of the rest, following his early, powerful attack at the base of the 900metre ascent of the Alto del Castillo.

Four on the move
The stage began with four-riders taking control and quickly escaping from the peloton. While the steady peloton found their feet, the quartet extended their advantage out to five-minutes within the first 17kilometres of racing. The 160km day remained mostly the same, with the four-leaders maintaining a gap ahead of the bunch. 

Tension in the bunch
As the first race in months, the peloton was nervous which led to multiple small crashes. With less than 50kilometres to go, two crashes in close succession saw the peloton string out and the tension rise. Jack Haig and Simon Yates were amongst those caught out in the falls but thankfully were both able to continue riding and quickly re-join the race.

Action packed kilometres followed, as the road turned and the peloton suddenly split in an exposed crosswind section. Chris Juul-Jensen was present in the front split for Mitchelton-SCOTT as the bunch caught the breakaway riders. 

Youngster Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quickstep) took a chance and as the peloton regrouped behind he launched away solo on a short uphill drag. More splits occurred in the bunch due to the changing wind, until the race finally settled down again with 22kilometres remaining, as Evenepoel was caught after a 10kilometres solo attempt.

Final kick up to the line
Teams set a furious pace into the bottom of the final climb but it was Grobschartner who decided to go early, opening up a gap at the bottom and successfully holding on to take the stage one victory.

After finishing in 11th place at 10seconds, Chaves heads into tomorrow’s second stage in eighth place on the general classification at 10seconds.

Esteban Chaves – 11th place
“It was really nice to be back and first I want to congratulate Burgos, the race organisation, for doing the race and having everybody working in these hard times, it is really important for everyone.

“There were some crosswinds and little sections and crashes today, the team worked really well to put me in the position for the last climb, also for the first climb, coming there with all riders.

“I can take confidence with all the work we’ve done during the lockdown and for the rest of the race coming up.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director
“The main thing for today is we didn’t lose time with both Simon and Esteban. Simon and Jack came down in crashes, they both appear to be ok; we will just keep an eye on them tonight.

“There were a lot of little crashes today, the race split because of the crashes and some crosswinds all happening at the same time. There will be general classification guys that have lost time on GC, so for us it is good that Esteban finished on bunch time, 10seconds down on the winner.

“We are on track, we said we would support our leaders before we came, now we will switch the GC to Esteban and Simon to stage wins.”

Vuelta Burgos – Stage 1 Results:

1. Felix Grosschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:40
2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quickstep) +0:08
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:08
11. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:10

Photos courtesy of Getty Images