Chaves seeks redemption, finishes second up Cumbre del Sol on stage 9 of La Vuelta

Sun 27 Aug 2017

Two years after losing the red jersey on the very same climb, Colombian Esteban Chaves has put in an impressive performance to finish second atop the Cumbre del Sol on stage nine at La Vuelta today.

Riding with maturity and patience, Chaves was amongst the favourites group on the four-kilometre ascent, before he reacted to a move made by race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) in the final kilometre.

The pair entered the final 100m together before a final push from Froome saw him steal the stage by four seconds to the ORICA-SCOTT rider and five seconds to Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac). 

“I thought the same,” Chaves said when a journalist suggested they thought he would take the victory over Froome. “But with 100m to go he looked around and accelerated again.”

“(Chris) is an unbelievable rider, he showed for what reason he (has) won the Tour de France four times.

“For me, it’s a really good result actually. Two years ago, I arrived 15 or 20seconds down on this climb so it’s not really good memories. I think I am more mature, more experienced and more calm and this is the important thing. 

“We keep the second place on the GC and we put time on the other guys and that’s really good. The team, like always, worked unbelievable. I’m really happy for the team, thank you really much. We’ve passed nine days and now it’s time to rest.”

How it happened:

After a battle to make the breakaway, 10 riders eventually broke clear but unlike previous stages, Cannondale-Drapac immediately took ownership at the front of the peloton to keep them in check. 

Motivated for the stage, the American outfit didn’t allow the move more than three-minute’s advantage and in the final 25km, had them within a minute.

Team Sky took over the tempo approaching the final climb and the last two survivors, Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ) and Marc Soler (Movistar Team), were eventually caught with 5.8km to go.

As riders lost touch from behind, early attackers where nullified before the GC group lit up with the move of Froome. Chaves was able to respond with Woods on his wheel, reconnecting with the leader before a final surge gave Froome the stage.

La Vuelta – Stage 9 Result: 

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 4:07:13
2. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:04
3. Michael Woods (Cannondale Drapac) +0:05

La Vuelta – General Classification after Stage 9:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 36:33:16
2. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:36
3. Nicholas Roche (BMC Racing) +1:05

Photo courtesy of TDWsport.