Chaves â€˜the peoples heroâ€™ seals second place at the 99th Giro dâ€™ItaliaSun 29 May 2016
An incredible three weeks of racing and excitement came to a close at the Giro d’Italia today with Colombian Esteban Chaves finishing in second place overall.
The result gives ORICA-GreenEDGE, Australia's first and only WorldTour team, its best result and first ever general classification podium in a Grand Tour.
26-year-old Chaves brilliantly won the mountainous Queen stage to put himself into contention and followed up by taking the race leader's pink jersey on stage 19 before battling hard against race winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on the penultimate day to seal the spectacular second place.
“I have learnt that dreams can come true,” said the smiling Chaves. “If you keep working and never give up then your dreams can come true. That is what myself and ORICA-GreenEDGE are going to continue doing.”
“I would not be in this position without the magnificent work and support of my teammates and everyone involved with ORICA-GreenEDGE, I would like to thank all of them.
“These last few days have been the best of my life. This is just the beginning, that is what I told my teammates and this is what I believe.”
From the ‘Big Three’ of Svein Tuft, Sam Bewley and Michael Hepburn to the trio of climbers Ruben Plaza, Damien Howson and Amets Txurruka the whole team were outstanding over the 21 long stages.
The fast men of ORICA-GreenEDGE also played vital roles with 21-year-old Caleb Ewan coming close to a first Giro d’Italia stage win, finishing second on stage 12 before leaving the race as it headed into the high mountains.
Ewan’s second place came after a perfect lead out from Slovenian Luka Mezgec with the two riders developing a great relationship in the sprints. Mezgec unfortunately broke his right scaphoid on stage 11 and after bravely riding on through the pain for five days, was eventually forced to abandon on stage 16.
Sport director Matt White echoed the sentiments of Chaves by looking at the result as a sign of great things to come.
“Twenty four hours ago we were disappointed that we had come so close to winning the Giro d’Italia,” said White. “However, twenty four hours later with everything in perspective no one is more content or proud of the achievement of Esteban (Chaves) and the team.”
“Three weeks ago nobody thought we were going to be in this position, but the preparation for this started last year. Esteban is a home grown talent which is the most exciting thing for us.”
“He has been part of ORICA-GreenEDGE since the beginning and I agree that this is the start of the journey and we’re going to see some incredible battles in future Grand Tours.”
“The special moment for me was when Esteban won the Queen Stage,” explained White. “That was the first indication that we had the potential to win this race. It’s been an incredible three weeks and I am immensely proud of all our guys.”
How it happened:
The largely ceremonial final stage of the 2016 Giro d’Italia took place today with a flat and relatively stress free 163kilometres from Cuneo to downtown Turin.
Up for grabs was the red points jersey and the sprint honours for the stage with the general classification effectively neutralised after yesterday’s epic stage 20.
The rain was falling heavily with the wet roads causing a crash that involved riders from ORICA-GreenEDGE and BMC in the first 20kilometres. Thankfully nobody suffered any injuries and all were back on their bikes almost immediately.
As the race approached the first of the eight finishing circuits around Turin with 66kilometres to go, two riders from LottoNL-Jumbo broke clear developing a lead of one minute on the bunch.
Another crash occurred in the bunch on the third lap of the finishing circuit involving Chaves and riders from Team Cannondale including Rigoberto Uran. Fortunately Chaves avoided serious injury and after stopping to check on compatriot Uran, he was able to remount and continue.
The field came back together on the final lap of the race with fresh attacks forming instantly and a large group of riders breaking away to contest the sprint.
Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) won the frantic sprint for the stage and also the red points jersey for the race. However, Nizzolo was disqualified by the officials who ruled that his sprint was irregular this meant that Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) took the stage victory.
Chaves crossed the line surrounded by his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates to take the crowds applause together in celebration of an outstanding second place.
Giro d’Italia stage 21 results:
1. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) 03:48:18
2. Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) ST
3. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) ST
Final General Classification:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 86:32:49
2. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +0:52
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:17