We know him as the ‘Colombian Kangaroo’ and early next year he will be racing on adopted home soil – Orica Bike-Exchange rider Esteban Chaves will launch his 2017 season in Australia.
After a stellar 2016 that included two Grand Tour podiums – 2nd at the Giro and 3rd at La Vuelta – Chaves will race the Tour Down Under from January 14-22 before travelling to Victoria for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 29. He will then compete in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour from February 1 to 5.
The 26yo winner of this year’s Il Lombardia monument said the early season races were super-important for ORICA-BikeExchange.
“We can only race in Australia for these three races each year so I am happy to be with them for this,” he said.
“The boys are super motivated to race near their homes and I am a little bit Australian now so I am happy for this too. This year we set some big goals and we meet and pass them many times, especially with the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and Il Lombardia. Sometimes I don’t believe all of this happened. Next year, we will start a little different in Australia but we will again set some big goals for hope this success again.”
It will be the Colombian’s first trip to Australia since November 2013, and he’s excited to be returning.
“I am really excited to go back to Australia,” said Chaves. “I want to see every single fan that supports me, but I want to see them properly, so we chose to start the season in the Australian summer for this reason. When I go to one new place I like to see how the local people live, what the local people eat, what the local people do, the culture and mentality. I am super excited to look at all these different things, understand Australians even more and learn why Australians are super nice persons with everyone.”
OBE Sport director Matt White said Esteban Chaves had the potential to make a serious impact on all three Aussie events.
“We know the Australian fans will love having him Down Under.,” he said.
“This is something they have been requesting for a while now. We are pleased we could fit it into his 2017 program. I’m confident he won’t disappoint.”