Chaves first Abu Dhabi Tour champion, wraps up ORICA-GreenEDGEâ€™s 2015 season on a highSun 11 Oct 2015
Two-time Vuelta a Espana stage winner Esteban Chaves has been crowned the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour champion following a final twilight stage on Yas Marina Circuit this evening.
The Colombian entered the last day of racing with a 16second buffer to Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) and maintained that advantage thanks to the support of his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates on what was another sprint finish.
After a fifth overall at the Vuelta a Espana, the victory marks the 25-year-old’s first professional overall victory at a multi-stage race.
“First a mountain stage win, then my first general classification in a professional stage race. I am very, very happy,” Chaves said after he crossed the finish line.
“To win the first Abu Dhabi Tour is beautiful: it is the first edition of the race, and my first GC too. I'm happy for the team, and the team is very happy for me.
“As I follow my winter training program, I will be remembering this race."
Sport director Matt White said the victory was the perfect way to cap off a great season for ORICA-GreenEDGE and a breakthrough year for Chaves.
“It’s a nice way for us to go into the winter having finished off with a really positive race,” White said.
“It's obviously a great time for Esteban. It’s no surprise that he is moving very well here but it’s a great sign of things to come.
“It’s also a nice way for him to cap off what has been a been breakthrough year for him. He has had some great wins in the past with us, but to finish top five in a Grand Tour and win a stage race in the second part of the season in certainly just reward for all of the hard work he has put in over the last few years.”
How it happened:
The Abu Dhabi Tour returned to the Yas Marina Circuit for the final stage of its inaugural running for a 20lap race on the 5.5km circuit, home to Formula 1's 'Etihad Airways' Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Esteban Chaves started the day with a 16second advantage and, sparing mishap, the Colombian look set to take the first ever title.
A trio of riders – Eduard Vorganov (Team Katusha), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) and Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-Quick Step) – made a move off the front early and held their biggest advantage of almost two minutes with 50km remaining.
After defending the leader’s jersey at the head of the peloton, ORICA-GreenEDGE was then joined by sprinter’s teams hoping for one last attempt at stage honours.
The race came back together with 15km left to race before an immediate counter attack. The secondary move of two riders was nullified with 5km to go, bringing it back, once again, for the expected sprint.
In a fast finish, it was Team Sky’s Elia Viviani who claimed the stage honours, Chaves finishing safely in the bunch to secure the inaugural title.