Chaves impresses in stage 17 Vuelta time trialWed 9 Sep 2015
Colombian Esteban Chaves has put in an incredible time trial to maintain a top ten position on general classification, dropping just one position to seventh at the Vuelta a Espana.
The 38.7km race against the clock was identified as one of the biggest challenges in the two-time stage winner’s pursuit for a top overall result but the 25-year-old managed an impressive 20th on the stage.
The ride moved Chaves ahead of Mikel Nieve (Team Sky), whilst strong rides by Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Team Movistar) saw them jump ahead of the ORICA-GreenEDGE rider. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) won the time trial to move back into the race lead.
“I am really happy,” Chaves said. “The most important thing for me is that I could do one big effort after two weeks of racing and this is one step up in my career and in the time trial for me also.”
“It’s because we work a lot and this is the result from this work.
“Now it’s important to not lose the head and continue to work. There are four stages to go to Madrid.”
Sport director Neil Stephens said the ride was better than he had predicted and credited the Colombian’s commitment and hard work.
“We were worried about a couple of stages and this was one of the main ones in the Vuelta,” Stephens said. “I did a rough calculation in my head on where we would be after today’s stage and I thought eighth or ninth.”
“I didn’t even factor in that Quintana would have such a great ride, so we jumped past some that I didn’t expect and we didn’t lose as much time as I thought to the big rivals, in fact we gained on a lot of them.
“20th on the stage is an unbelievable result. That’s Esteban’s best time trial result ever and it comes at the end of two and a half weeks of hard racing. He has worked really hard. Whilst others were having an off-season in November, Esteban was on his time trial bike thinking about this stage.”
Unfortunately whilst mid-way through a really strong time trial effort, Australian Cameron Meyer suffered from a crash. Despite completing the stage, scans later confirmed he had fractured the end of his right collarbone. The 27-year-old will not require surgery but is forced to withdraw from the race.
Fellow Australian Damien Howson also had an early fall but has escaped without major injury and will start tomorrow.