Chaves fights to top-10 at the Tour of SloveniaFri 21 Jun 2019
Colombian Esteban Chaves was in the mix on stage three of the Tour of Slovenia as a general classification battle played out on the final climb of the day.
The recent Giro d’Italia stage winner was to the fore on the steep slopes in Dole before crossing the line in seventh place in a chase group 17-seconds down on the day’s winner.
There was no chance of any fast men making it to the finish to contest the stage win on the third day of racing in Slovenia, with another hilly route on the cards, including the category-two ascent at Dole to contend with.
It was a fast start to the day with several attempts to form a break coming and going until four riders eventually made a move stick. The escapees opened up an advantage over seven minutes at one stage, but there was no panic back in the peloton with the climbs still ahead.
Mitchelton-SCOTT were happy enough at the fore of the bunch as they kept race leader Luka Mezgec safe, knowing that the final climb would likely be too much for the Slovenian to get over and hold onto the leader’s jersey for another day.
The gap to the breakaway began to tumble over the category-four ramp at Rovte and by the time the race hit the slopes of the final test, the break’s day out front was over. A strong pace was being set from the foot of the climb and the peloton was soon blown apart, leaving just four riders at the head of the race.
Chaves was amongst the leading quartet with a larger chase group forming behind, but as the summit approached, Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) attacked along with Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-RusVelo). Chaves couldn’t react to the move and instead dropped back to a six-rider chase group on the descent.
It was then a case of whether or not the chasers could catch the leading duo that had opened up a 30-second buffer over the top of the climb. With three-kilometres to go the chasers had them in their sights but sensing the danger Ulissi attacked again while the chase group faltered. With the chase over the Italian was able to solo to the stage victory while Chaves crossed the line in seventh.
"It was a hard day today. We were leading the race which was awesome with Luka, but the first hour of the race was pretty hard until the break went, and we are happy with the composition."
"The last climb was pretty steep and hard. I lost the wheel 500-metres from the top, I was disappointed, but it is what it is. We got really close to the guys out the front and the group I was with was really committed but we didn’t make it."
"Tomorrow will be a longer climb and normally that suits me better. We have a strong team here and we all work together really well, just like always, so let’s see."
Tour of Slovenia Stage 3 Results:
1. Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) 3:58:01
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-RusVelo) +0:12
3. Giovanni Visconti (Neri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM) +0:17
7. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:17
General Classification After Stage 3:
1. Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) 11:38:41
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-RusVelo) +0:19
3. Andrea Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec) +0:26
8. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:30
Photos Courtesy of Getty Images.