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"Neil Stephens told me about the climb and said it was really steep, at 10% and even one part at 14%. I had good legs on that part and attacked."

Photo: Sirotti






27.08.2015 @ 20:50 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Colombian Esteban Chaves has pulled off his second stage win of the 2015 Vuelta a Espana to reclaim the red jersey he relinquished yesterday. The victory marks Orica-GreenEDGE’s third stage win in six days following the 25-year-old’s victory on stage two and 21-year-old Caleb Ewan’s win yesterday.


Chaves attacked from the peloton on the steep ramps of the final category three climb, flying past solo leader Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) to claim the victory by five seconds.


“I can’t believe I won,” he said at the finish. “It was a long, hot and hard stage today. Mid-way I spoke to Matt Hayman and he told me ‘if you have good legs you have to race because you never know what will happen tomorrow.


"Neil Stephens told me about the climb and said it was really steep, at 10% and even one part at 14%. I had good legs on that part and attacked.


“Daryl (Impey) put me in a really good position and I started the climb in first. I saw (Andrey) Amador (Movistar Team) suffering as he pushed the pace and when I saw that he wasn’t comfortable I tried and went for it.”


With bonus seconds for the stage win, the 2014 Tour de Suisse and Tour of California stage winner leads the general classification by ten seconds from Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).


“I’m really happy,” Chaves said. “I want to thank all the team and staff again, they’re all amazing. Caleb Ewan won yesterday but today he went for bottles. This team is like a family.


"A second stage victory on a grand Tour, it's big. It was harder than it looked. But I knew that the start of the climb was harder than the finish. I wanted to try and I was right.


"At the end, it's true, it was agonising. The seconds were slipping by, one, two, three, four… But with the headwind, I was really afraid to be pulled back.


"Tomorrow's stage will be like today's, it will be a long and difficult stage. We will try to recuperate and I will do my best, hopefully stay with the best."


Despite starting the stage with no specific plans to regain the race lead today, sport director Neil Stephens credited the team’s ability to think and assess on the road.


“I always say to the boys that they should always trust in their own intuition,” Stephens said. “They are in the bunch, they see the faces of the other riders and they feel the suffering of the other riders. They discussed it amongst the boys and decided if they felt good in the finish they were going to go for it. It was the right decision, they did the job well to put Esteban in a good position and he went for it.


“It was a great success, we weren’t really expecting that. We wanted to maintain the position that we had. Esteban, when he can, he tries to take advantage of whatever he can do and he took advantage of it today and he took the win today.


“I don’t know what to expect from him. I didn’t expect what he did today and he did it. So whatever he does is fantastic. It’s been a fantastic week for us, we’re over the moon. Let’s just try to enjoy today and then we’ll think about the three weeks after that.


"I thought he would wait for tomorrow. But he saw his team-mates had worked hard and he felt obliged to do well. That's the way he is. Esteban rides with the heart, not with the head.


"For now, he's doing well, but I don't know how far he can go. Maybe not on this Vuelta, but I believe he can become a great champion in the future. It's our young riders who win the stages, but if you look at the guys who do the hard work, they're the older ones. And the youngsters can take advantage of it."


Stephen also praised the team’s attitude over the past days.


“We knew a few seconds up or down yesterday wasn’t going to make a difference at the end of three weeks,” he said. “Hats off to how relaxed all the boys, and particularly Esteban, were about losing the jersey yesterday. Then to get the jersey back today, that’s something only champions can do.”


“It was just the plan to keep him [Chaves] up there. I think he’s just got great condition at the moment and when you’ve got good condition it seems like he can’t do anything wrong. We’ve had a great Tour so far," Impey said.


“It’s much better start, that’s for sure. We had a really hard Tour de France, things didn’t go as well as planned. That’s cycling and sports in general, you have your ups and downs and this is fantastic.”



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