Chaves moves into fifth overall after first mountain top finish of the Tour of SpainThu 28 Aug 2014
Colombian Esteban Chaves has impressed on the first general classification test of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana as the three-week tour delivered its first mountain top finish on stage six this afternoon.
The 24-year-old mixed it amongst the races biggest names including Alejandro Valverde, Christopher Froome, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana until the final 500metres of the category one finish before fading slightly for seventh position.
Valverde was victorious atop the mountain to take the red race leader’s jersey from ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews.
Finishing 25seconds behind on the stage, Chaves moves into fifth overall, 41seconds adrift.
Sport director Neil Stephens said the team had duel goals for the day’s stage and again collaborated exceptionally to deliver to the race plan.
“We had plans for Adam Yates to try to get up for the stage win and also Esteban was also going to work to maintain his position in general classification,” Stephens said.
“The team again did another fantastic job to lead the pair through the streets of Granada and position them at the front for the last climb.
“For the first two kilometers they were both there amongst the action, the heat and extreme velocity of the climb then got the better of Adam.
“Esteban did really well to maintain himself with the best climbers in the world until the final kilometre, losing a few seconds at the end.”
Stephens said that early signs for Chaves were good, but that for a young rider, it is a long race.
“He is only 24 years old and coming back from a year out with an injury last year,” he said of Chaves.
“It’s a bit early to tell how things will go from here, that was just one uphill finish and there are some very demanding mountain stages to come but so far so good.”
The stage saw the end of ORICA-GreenEDGE and Michael Matthews’ reign in the overall lead, but Stephens conceded that it was time to move onto the team’s remaining goals for the Tour of Spain.
“It was really nice to see the boys riding through Granada at the front of the peloton with the leader of the bike race amongst them,” Stephens said.
“We won a stage, we defended the lead for a few days and now we have other goals.
“We are trying to find other stages on the way and really look after Esteban. Holding the lead was one part of the Tour of Spain and we look forward to the next part.”
A hilly parcour returns for the 169km stage seven from Alhendin to Alcaudete tomorrow with category three and category two climbs to maneuver before an uphill finish.