Chaves & ORICA-BikeExchange take another step towards futureTue 4 Oct 2016
Colombian Esteban Chaves has penned a new agreement with ORICA-BikeExchange that sees the future of the 26-year-old and that of the Australian outfit secured for the next three years.
After a breakthrough season, including podium finishes at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana and a history-making victory at monument Il Lombardia last weekend, Chaves has extended his contract to include the 2019 season.
The three-year commitment to Chaves is also one of security for ORICA-BikeExchange, with team owner Gerry Ryan throwing his support behind the team for the foreseeable future.
Just days after winning Il Lombardia, where he became the first non-European to win the 110-year-old race and the first Colombian to ever win a cycling monument, Chaves said he had found his home with ORICA-BikeExchange.
“I had a hard start (following a career-threatening crash),” he said. “But the good thing is that every year we set some objectives and every year we meet these objectives and do a little bit more.”
“It has been a special three years with this team and if we continue on this line, good things will come. We have a really young team, there are a lot of strong guys under 30, so if we keep growing together over the next few years we will be really strong in all of the races.
“I am super happy here and it is like one family. I never think to stay here for a couple of years and then look somewhere else because I am 100% happy here. I want to stay here with the people who gave me the opportunity when no one else gave me the opportunity or believed in me.”
Chaves, whose trademark smile has shaped him into a cult figure for the team and its fans, said the team’s growing success comes courtesy of its culture.
“There are a lot of things that make this team different to any other team,” the 26-year-old explained. “This team is special and the last week in Italy showed this.”
“We were in the last week of the season for a lot of guys but we feel like it is the first week of the season. Everyone is super excited, happy and laughing. It’s not demanding for us to race or be with the team because we are all really close.
“This team continues to work, this team continues to believe and the chemistry of this team is real and from the heart. It is special for me to be part of this organisation, this team and this family.”
Sport director Matt White said he is thrilled to have Chaves extend his commitment with ORICA-BikeExchange, as the two parties continue the transition into a formidable general classification force.
"For us, Esteban epitomises what this team stands for,” White said. “Guts, humility and leading by example.”
“For someone who has come through a career-threatening crash to come back and deliver on the road and then step up to lead a team in the world’s biggest races, is a testimony to his character.
“Esteban didn't even speak English three years ago and now he continues to grow as a person and a rider as we continue to grow as a team around him. We are very proud and excited to have Esteban extend his journey with us."
From: Bogota, Colombia
Turned Professional: 2014
ORICA-BikeExchange major results:
- 1st Il Lombardia
- 1st Giro d'Italia - Stage 14
- 2nd Giro d'Italia - General Classification
- 3rd Vuelta a Espana - General Classification
- 1st Abu Dhabi Tour - General Classification
- 1st Giro d'Italia - Stage 1 (TTT)
- 1st Vuelta a Espana - Stage 2
- 1st Vuelta a Espana - Stage 6
- 5th Vuelta a Espana - General Classification (including six days in the red leader’s jersey)