Chaves moves up to 8th overall after stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia

Wed 18 May 2016

A 227kilometre stage eleven of the 99th Giro d’Italia saw Colombian Esteban Chaves jump up two places to eighth on the general classification after another strong performance by the ORICA-GreenEDGE rider.

The race covered over 200kilometres on flat roads before ramping viciously up a short but steep climb in the final 20kilometres leading into a technical and undulating finish.

Chaves and teammate Damien Howson made the split into the final selection with the other race favourites on the climb, with Howson playing an integral role in keeping Chaves and the group in contact with eventual stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida).

Chaves crossed the line 13seconds down on stage winner Ulissi and is now eighth on the general classification two minutes 43seconds behind race leader Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep).

Sport director Matt White praised a strong team performance and in particular the work of Howson in the final kilometres of the stage.

“The team were superb today,” said White. “Damien (Howson) really made the step up today and he played a massively important role in keeping Esteban (Chaves) in contact over those tricky final kilometres.”

“We had to fight for position after the crash with around 30kilometres to go but the guys did a fantastic job in bringing Esteban through safely and kept him at the front going into the climb.

“Grand Tours are often about minimising risk,” explained White. “We wanted to maintain our position and come through the stage without any issues and I’m glad that we were able to do that and even improve slightly.”

Tomorrow's stage is completely flat for 182kilometres and I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t finish with a bunch sprint.”

How it happened:

Stage eleven of the Giro d’Italia began at breakneck speed from the start in sunny Modena with the average speed for the first hour of racing over 50kmph. A group of nine riders attempted to breakaway but never managed to develop a lead of more than a minute before being reeled back in by the attentive peloton.

After 75kilometres of racing a trio of riders finally made a move that was allowed some freedom and Anton Vorobyev (Katusha) along with two companions extended their advantage to a massive ten minutes 100kilometres into the race.

With the first 200kilometres of the stage almost completely flat the situation on the road stayed pretty much the same, with the three leaders contesting the sprint points and the peloton trundling along behind them.

Head and cross winds started to pick up around the 150kilometre mark and the trio in front began to lose some time with their lead falling to around six minutes with 85kilometres to go.

Etixx-Quickstep and FDJ were the two teams putting in the work on the front of the peloton now as the lead of the breakaway continued to fall steadily, dropping to under four minutes with 70kilometres remaining.

Heading into the final 35kilometres of the stage, the three leaders still had three minutes on the peloton with the climb up to Forcella Mostaccin on the horizon. With gradients of up to 16% more teams, including ORICA-GreenEDGE, were gathering at the front of the bunch as the chase intensified ahead of the climb.

A mass pile up in the last third of the peloton occurred with 27kilometres to go. The crash involved Caleb Ewan and Luka Mezgec for ORICA-GreenEDGE with neither suffering serious injury but Ewan did need a bike change. The crash happened just before the start of the climb to Forcella Mostaccin and the peloton split heavily as a result.

As expected, the breakaway began to fall apart on the first ramps of the climb, a select group of favourites including Chaves and Howson had accelerated away from the reduced peloton and were closing in on the dysfunctional trio of leaders.

The Chaves group passed what was left of the breakaway with 19kilometres left to race and immediately attacks began to spring from the group of favourites with Carlos Betancur (Movistar) the first to test the waters.

The group began to split as a result of these attacks with Chaves, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and the pink jersey of Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep) among those left at the head of the race.

Fast and technical rolling roads dotted the approach to the finish with Nibali attempting to take advantage of the terrain with a fast attack on the descent from Forcella Mostaccin that was followed closely by Chaves and Valverde.

The trio were caught by the Jungels group one or two kilometres later as the road started to climb again. Andry Amador (Movistar) attacked and was followed instantly by Jungels with the duo developing a ten second gap on the Chaves group with only eight kilometres to go.

Jungels and Amador were working together when Ulissi bridged across with five kilometres to go and the trio sped away towards the finish with the Chaves/Howson group only ten seconds behind. Howson’s work on the front of the group in the final kilometres were key in controlling the advantage of the Jungels group and the young Australian did not disappoint.

Ulissi won the stage from a three up sprint to the line, getting the better of Amador and Jungels with Chaves, Niabali and Valverde all finishing together a few metres further back. Chaves moves up to eighth on the general classification going into tomorrow's stage 12.

The 12th stage takes place tomorrow and covers 182kilometres on completely flat roads from Noale to Bibione which are both small municipalities of the famous port city of Venice in the north eastern corner of Italy. Winds may play a part in the race but it will more than likely be a day for the sprinters.

Giro d’Italia stage eleven results:

1. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) 04:56:32
2. Andrey Amador (Movistar) ST
3. Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep) ST
19. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:13 

 General classification after stage eleven:

1. Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep) 45:16:20
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 00:00:23
3. Andrey Amador (Movistar) 00:01:07
8. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:02:43