Chaves holds his own on stage 14 of Vuelta a EspanaSat 6 Sep 2014
Colombian Esteban Chaves has held his own on the first of three consecutive mountain stages at the Vuelta a Espana this afternoon.
Today’s 14th stage was characterised by a brutal final climb with a peak gradient of 19.5% and after a gutsy team effort on yesterday’s stage, the goals for ORICA-GreenEDGE today were modest.
“We really weren’t shooting for the stars today,” sport director Neil Stephens said.
“We were trying to get through with Esteban and also trying to give the other guys a reasonable recovery, as much as you can get in the mountains.
“Given that, we had a pretty good day really.”
A major group of 23 riders set off from the peloton after the first intermediate sprint and worked well together over the first category two climb and into the second ascent.
By the peak of the Puerto de San Glorio climb the break had been reduced to twelve riders yet still maintained control over the stage.
Much of the remaining group was found out on the brutal final climb but a late surge by Ryder Hesjedal (GRS) to soar past the solo attack of Olivier Zuagg (TCS) resulted in an impressive victory.
Chaves worked hard from the peloton to finish 29th on the stage and sits in 19th overall.
“Esteban rode a really decent climb at the finish,” Stephens said.
“His GC (general classification) is pretty much the same and I tend to think over the next couple of days he will hold his own.
“There is obviously a very hard stage tomorrow and an extremely hard stage the next day but today, as far as I am concerned, was another day with all the boxes ticked.”