Chaves keeps calm to win Giro dell’Emilia

Sat 24 Sep 2016

Two-time Grand Tour podium finisher Esteban Chaves backed up his recent Vuelta a España performance to claim the victory in one-day Italian race Giro dell’Emilia today.

Chaves waited patiently before making a well-timed attack in the final moments of the 213km race to steal the victory at the top of the tough two kilometre San Luca climb.

ORICA-BikeExchange animated much of the day with Vuelta a España stage winner Jens Keukeleire represented in the main breakaway of eight riders, as the rest of the team waited attentively in the peloton protecting Chaves ahead of the final laps.

The Colombian displayed his calm, classy style by powering ahead of the leaders in the final metres to take the victory for the team in his first race back since his podium finish at the Tour of Spain. 

“It was a really good day for the team,” explained Chaves after the win. “I know the climb because I did this race four years ago so I know that everyone usually attacks early in the final."

“I stayed calm and just followed Fabio Aru because his team Astana were working a lot. In the last 500metres when everyone was without fire I tried. 

“It is good that I had the legs to win as the team today was unbelievable. We had Keukeleire in the break and then Jack Haig, Damien Howson and Amets Txurruka put me in good position before the final circuit so it was really good.”

Along with Chaves, sport director Dave McPartland was overjoyed with the victory and praised the whole team for their efforts and commitment through the race.

“Everyone did their job well,” said McPartland. “With Keukeleire in the break we didn’t have to ride at all in the wind and could just look after the key guys and it all went to plan for us today.” 

“We remained calm all race and we knew Chaves needed to go in final few hundred metres and that exactly what he did.

“It takes a lot of experience to do that, you have to be super calm and patient and he did that perfectly today.”

How it happened:

As the first race of a series of one-day Italian events, the Giro dell’Emilia opened up with a predominantly flat first 50kilometres. ORICA-BikeExchange were quickly in and amongst the action as attacks came in an attempt to form an early breakaway. 

Vuelta a España stage winner Keukeleire rode himself in to a successful move of eight riders, given some freedom by the peloton enabling them to ride out to a four minute 30second advantage.

As the leaders made their way up the longest climb of the day the Passo Brasimone the time gap decreased slightly to just over three minutes.

The kilometres ticked down and the escapees approached the 9.3kilometres finishing circuit ready for five ascents of the 2.1kilometre climb San Luca which averaged out at a steep 10% gradient. 

With just 30kilometres to go three of the initial breakaway riders broke clear again and led the race but with a fierce chase from the peloton the lead dropped to just two minutes.

The remaining peloton began to deteriorate due to a rapid pace and the trio were all eventually reeled in as they began the closing lap.

With the front group finally all back together, again three riders immediately attacked at the base of the climb with Chaves waiting patiently behind before the Colombian launched a brave late attack to over take and steal the victory. 

Tomorrow the team are back in action in GP Bruno Beghelli with a similar team line up searching for a consecutive victory.

Giro dell’Emilia results:

1. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 5:27:28
2. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +0:02
3. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) +0:03