Chaves maintains second as gaps lengthen in overall battle after stage 8 of La Vuelta

Sat 26 Aug 2017

Another steep climb in today’s stage eight final has further extended the general classification time gaps at La Vuelta, with ORICA-SCOTT’s Esteban Chaves losing time but maintaining second overall.

Chaves finished 20th on the stage, 17seconds behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) to now sit 28seconds behind the race leader in the general classification. The advantage to third-placed Nicholas Roche also extended with the BMC Racing rider now 41seconds off the pace.

“You have to be realistic, when you lose time it’s always a problem,” sport director Neil Stephens admitted. “You never go out to lose time, you always try to gain time wherever you can.”

“We got to the foot of the climb, a few things happened, Jack Haig had a puncture at a bad moment, Simon Yates tried his luck and that didn’t work out and Adam Yates and Esteban also lost a bit of time.

“It’s nothing drastic, but like I said, it is an issue because it’s another chunk of time we’ve lost but all-in-all the plan is still going well, the guys are ticking the boxes and getting closer to the bigger mountains and the team as a whole is going really well.

“Winning this Tour of Spain was always going to be difficult, it has been difficult right from the start. Froomey is going well and all being equal he should have a time trial which will make differences as well. 

“We are still hoping to win the Tour of Spain, we’re still hoping to fight for the podium at the Tour of Spain. Today, even though we lost a bit of time, the ambience is really good, the boys are feeling good so nothing has changed for us.”

How it happened:

After an initial battle, 21 riders formed the breakaway of the day and rode out to a five-minute advantage.

Behind, the peloton once again looked content with allowing the move to contest the stage, whilst they conserved energy before the decisive final climb in the final 10km.

Whilst the advantage between the two groups did decrease, the breakaway was never in danger with Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep Floors) taking the win over Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Behind, Contador set the pace with only Froome, Chaves and Michael Woods (Cannondale Drapac) able to follow.  Then Froome attacked and was momentarily alone before Contador regained touch and the pair crossed the finish line together. 

Chaves finished in a group with Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida), 17seconds down. Teammate Adam Yates finished a further 11seconds behind alongside Woods and third-placed Roche.

La Vuelta – Stage 8 Results:

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep Floors) 4:37:55
2. Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) +0:02
3. Rafal Majka (Bora Hansgrohe) +0:02
20. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:44 

La Vuelta – General Classification after stage 8: 

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 32:26:13
2. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:28
3. Nicholas Roche (BMC Racing Team) +0:41

Photo courtesy of TDWsport.