Chaves reclaims red jersey with second stage win at Vuelta

Thu 27 Aug 2015

Colombian Esteban Chaves has pulled off his second stage win of the 2015 Vuelta a Espana to reclaim the red jersey he relinquished yesterday.

The victory marks ORICA-GreenEDGE’s third stage win in six days following the 25-year-old’s victory on stage two and 21-year-old Caleb Ewan’s win yesterday.

Chaves attacked from the peloton on the steep ramps of the final category three climb, flying past solo leader Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) to claim the victory by five seconds.

“I can’t believe I won,” he said at the finish. 

“It was a long, hot and hard stage today. Mid-way I spoke to Matt Hayman and he told me ‘if you have good legs you have to race because you never know what will happen tomorrow.’

“Daryl (Impey) put me in a really good position and I started the climb in first. I saw (Andrey) Amador (Movistar Team) suffering as he pushed the pace and when I saw that he wasn’t comfortable I tried and went for it.”

With bonus seconds for the stage win, the 2014 Tour de Suisse and Tour of California stage winner leads the general classification by ten seconds from Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).

“I’m really happy,” Chaves said. “I want to thank all the team and staff again, they’re all amazing.”

“Caleb Ewan won yesterday but today he went for bottles. This team is like a family.”

Despite starting the stage with no specific plans to regain the race lead today, sport director Neil Stephens credited the team’s ability to think and assess on the road.

“I always say to the boys that they should always trust in their own intuition,” Stephens said. “They are in the bunch, they see the faces of the other riders and they feel the suffering of the other riders.”

“They discussed it amongst the boys and decided if they felt good in the finish they were going to go for it.

“It was the right decision, they did the job well to put Esteban in a good position and he went for it.”

Stephen also praised the team’s attitude over the past days.

“We knew a few seconds up or down yesterday wasn’t going to make a difference at the end of three weeks,” he said.

“Hats off to how relaxed all the boys, and particularly Esteban, were about losing the jersey yesterday.

“Then to get the jersey back today, that’s something only champions can do.”

How it happened:

It took over 60km for the break to form as the peloton showed resistance with a fierce pace in the first hour on stage six.

Eventually a group of six riders formed but they were kept within striking distance at an advantage of around three to four minutes.

Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) started the final climb as the lone remaining leader and at one point looked likely to claim the stage victory as the peloton began to tire.

Sensing his opportunity, and with the support of his teammates, Chaves made an unanswered attack from the peloton.

With two kilometres to go the Colombian bridged across to Cummings and immediately left him in his wake.

Race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) was forced to answer with his own attack and despite being joined by Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) the pair had to settle for third and second respectively.

The remaining race favourites finished in a group 11seconds behind Chaves.

Tomorrow’s stage seven is the first big mountain top finish with a category one climb concluding the 191.1km stage from Jodar to La Alpijarra.