Andorra: Orica-Scott’s Esteban Chaves, one of the team’s three lead riders going into the Vuelta Espana, has put in an impressive performance in the first mountain stage of the final Grand Tour of the year.
Chaves maintained contact with Team Sky’s Chris Froome on the final 11km climb of the stage to finish 5th overall. Teammates Adam and Simon Yates finished close behind giving Orica-Scott three riders in the top 11 and Froome is now in the red leader’s jersey.
Nibali Takes The Stage
Froome and Chaves went head to head on the tough Andorran climb but were caught on the subsequent descent by some of the world’s best. Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain-Merida won the stage that finished in the centre of the Principality of Andorra.
From an Aussie perspective the stage was all about Chaves, the likeable ‘Colombian Kangaroo’ smiling and saying ‘I can’t complain’ when asked by Orica-Scott to discuss his return to form.
“I feel again like one rider,” Chaves said. “I arrived in the first group with the best riders in the world so I’m really happy.”
Chaves Singles Out Jack Haig For Special Praise
“It was a really unbelievable final,” Chaves continued. “Sky did a really good job and I am also really happy because the team works unbelievable and I can stay with Froome on the climb. In the final I can’t really change with him in the flat, but anyway we arrive in the first group and I am happy for that.”
“I want to congratulate Jack Haig,” Chaves added. “He is a really young fella, and he was still there in the front before the last climb and this is really good to start in this form.”
2017 La Vuelta – Stage 3 Results
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) 4:01:22
2 David De La Cruz (Quickstep Floors) ST
3 Chris Froome (Team Sky) ST
5 Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) ST
La Vuelta – General Classification after Stage 3
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 8:53:44
2 David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:02
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team ST
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team ST
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:10
6 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:11
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:38
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:00:39
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:43
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:48