Esteban Chavez climbs to victory again

Jun 23, 2014
Category: Races  Stage 6 

Esteban Chaves announced his arrival to the world last month when the Orica GreenEDGE rider won Stage 6 of Amgen Tour of California and he did it again on Saturday. The 24-year-old Colombian used his ability to climb like an angel to win Stage 8 of the Tour de Suisse much like he did atop California’s Mountain High. This time, Chaves used the final kilometers of the hors categorie Alpine climb of the Verbier to claim his first WorldTour victory.

“It’s my first WorldTour win. It comes at a really important race. Everyone here has the legs for the Tour de France. I don’t have the words for what this means to me. Thanks to all my teammates, the team and the people that support me. I am so happy,” said Chaves, who will not race in France next month, but instead is targeting the Vuelta a Espana. “The guys all helped me arrive in the last kilometers before the climb in a good position. I want to thank them all – Mathew Hayman, Simon Clarke, Cameron Meyer, Michael Albasini, Nino Schurter and Sam Bewley. They all did their work for me today, and I am so thankful. Because of their work, I started the last climb in the perfect position.”  

Attacks began as soon as the riders hit the 13.4km Verbier, which tops out 1.6km before the finish. With 6km remaining, the group was all together with Team Belkin at the front setting tempo for Bauke Mollema.

Orica GreenEDGE sport director Neil Stephens said, “I didn’t have TV in the car so I was on the phone with (sport director) Matt White. He told me Esteban was looking really, really strong. That’s when I got in his (Chaves) ear and reminded him that if he was feeling really good, he could think about going. It was all up to him after that.”

Chaves launched his attack with 3km to go. Davide Formolo (Cannondale) was the only rider able to stick on Chaves’s wheel. But Chaves was not to be denied and he celebrated victory with a 3-second margin. At the summit, Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Mollema chased hard overtaking Formolo on the way to the finish to complete the podium.

“I knew I had only one shot. I made a really strong attack in the last kilometer before the top. I looked back four or five times. The other guys were always really close to me. I wasn’t sure that I was going to win until ten meters from the finish,” said Chaves. “Most people know that my dream is to one day win the Tour de France. This is what I work for every day and at every race.”