Chaves moves into third, ORICA-SCOTT still with 3 in top 10 at La Vuelta

Wed 23 Aug 2017

Il Lombardia champion Esteban Chaves has moved up to third overall at La Vuelta, finishing in an elite group of four riders in the general classification battle on stage five today.

Chaves, race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky), Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) finished four-minutes 31seconds down on Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team), who won from the day’s breakaway.

“Today is a really really hard stage but we are really happy,” the ORICA-SCOTT rider said. “We arrived in the top four for the GC guys on the first hard climb and this is a good signal for the future.”

“I hate these climbs because you can’t take one pace. Yes, I am Colombian and sometimes I can be explosive but I prefer one pace.  In climbs like this you rest and then boom, 20%, and rest again.

“La Vuelta a Espana has just started now. I’m happy with the team we have here. We work without words, we (are) just looking and we know what is the next step. This is really special and I think this is what is happening in ORICA-SCOTT.”

Just behind the Chaves quartet, co-leaders Adam and Simon Yates finished amongst the other general classification contenders, 11 and 21seconds adrift respectively. The trio’s performances keep ORICA-SCOTT with third, eighth and ninth overall with plenty of racing still to come.

“It’s been a long time since the Giro, I had a big training block with only Poland before this, but so far so good,” Adam Yates said. “I still feel a little bit rusty with so many short sharp climbs but I’m sure in the last week the legs will come.”

“We have Esteban in a good position, my brother is not far behind either so we still have a lot of options to play in the days to come.”

Twin Simon Yates agreed. 

“The climb was similar to all of the climbs last year, a really fast run in and really steep. It was short, but when it’s short, it’s hard.

“Esteban had a good ride, Adam also, so we are there or there-abouts. I’m probably feeling better than I thought I would after the Tour de France. Of course, I’m not up there with the best guys right now but that’s OK, we’re still in the position to play the roles how we wanted from the start.” 

How it happened:

Whilst lacking any major mountains, a hilly stage five of La Vuelta, featuring five categorised climbs, was bound to take its toll on the peloton.

An initial breakaway was joined by bridging counter attacks to eventually form a large 17-rider group at the front of proceedings. 

Behind, Team Sky took their position to patrol the front of the peloton and with 100km to go, but break’s advantage remained relatively steady at three-minutes 30seconds.

The breakaway began to attack each other on the penultimate climb and their efforts saw the gap increase once again before the bunch relinquished the stage to prepare for a GC battle behind. 

Lutsenko arrive at the final climb with one other rider but was too strong and went solo on the lower slopes and maintained his advantage to the line.

Behind, the race favourites positioned into the final climb but it was the quartet of Chaves, Froome, Contador and Wood that best handled the varying, and at times steep, slopes of the climb to Alcossebre.

La Vuelta – Stage 5:

1. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) 4:24:58
2. Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data) +0:42
3. Marc Soler (Movistar Team) +0:56
16. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +4:31  

La Vuelta – General Classification after Stage 5:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 18:07:10
2. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) +0:10
3. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:11

Photo courtesy of TDWsport.