Orica-Scott’s best-performing rider of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, Esteban Chaves, has moved to third overall after another thrilling high country finish in northern Spain.
Chaves finished with overall leader Chris Froome of Team Sky, Alberto Contador of Trek-Segafredo and Michael Woods of Cannondale-Drapac, the elite bunch rolling in 4 minutes and 31seconds behind stage winner Alexey Lutsenko of Astana Pro Team.
Climbing two positions on overall ranking, Chaves was thrilled to match Chris Froome for a second day in the mountains.
“We arrived in the top four for the GC guys on the first hard climb and this is a good signal for the future,” he said.
“I hate these climbs because you can’t take one pace,” Chaves continued. “Yes, I am Colombian and sometimes I can be explosive but I prefer one pace. In climbs like this you rest and then boom, 20%, and rest again. La Vuelta a Espana has just started now – I’m happy with the team we have here, we work without words.”
Starting the final Grand Tour of the year with three leaders – Chaves along with Adam and Simon Yates – the trio are firmly embedded in the top ten with the Yates twins now eighth and ninth overall.
Alberto Fights Back
After a slow start to the final race of his career, a stomach illness Alberto Contador nursed for the first two days of the tour appears to have subsided. Speaking after the stage the Spaniard hinted there may be fireworks in store as riders hit the climbs proper.
“My feelings were a lot better than the previous days, closer to how I was feeling before coming here,” said Contador. “This stage was a short, explosive climb, not the long climbs that await us in the 2nd week mostly, so we should not be too euphoric either.”
“It is already a good thing that I have recuperated a bit, but for the GC, the truth is that it will be complicated. And like I said let’s not be too euphoric just because of today’s performance. The most important thing now is to recover and then we can analyze the best way to tackle the rest of the race.”
Stage 6 of the 2017 La Vuelta covers 204km and includes 5 categorised climbs between the towns of Vila-Real and Sagunt.
2017 La Vuelta Top 10 Overall After Stage 5
1. Chris Froome 18h 07′ 10”
2. Tejay Van Garderen + 00′ 10”
3. Esteban Chaves + 00′ 11”
4. Nicolas Roche + 00′ 13”
5. David De La Cruz + 00′ 23”
6. Vincenzo Nibali (same time)
7. Fabio Aru + 00′ 49”
8. Adam Yates + 00′ 50”
9. Simon Yates + 01′ 09”
10. Michael Woods + 01′ 13”