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“Esteban has had an incredible journey when you look back 12months ago he couldn’t shake your hand properly."

Photo: Delmati






14.10.2014 @ 14:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Less than two years ago, a bad crash almost brought Johan Esteban Chaves' career to an end. Today he finished on the podium in a WorldTour race when he was third in the Tour of Beijing.


Colombian Esteban Chaves cemented his third position overall and the best young rider jersey on the final stage of the 2014 Tour of Beijing today.


In a hectic finish, courtesy of a very late catch of two escapees in the final kilometre, 20-year-old Caleb Ewan managed to finish ninth in the messy sprint.


Bookending the year, the ORICA-GreenEDGE squad also retained their lead in the team’s classification to match that won at the first WorldTour event of the year, the Tour Down Under.


For Chaves, the WorldTour general classification podium wraps up what can only be described as an incredible comeback year.


“Esteban has had an incredible journey when you look back 12months ago he couldn’t shake your hand properly,” sport director Matt White said.


“To be borderline finishing your career aged 23 to finishing on the podium at a WorldTour event 12months later, with some great wins in California and at the Tour of Switzerland in between, he has come along way.


“We knew he was a class act when we brought him to the team, you don’t win Tour de l'Avenir unless you are a super talent. Now the big question is where he is going to be in 12months time. That is very exciting for us.”


On today’s objectives, White said the protection of Chaves’ overall position was a priority.


“Our first priority today was to make sure that Rui Costa didn’t take any time bonuses,” White said. “He is obviously a world champion, a very classy bike rider and he has a good turn of speed on him so we really had to mark him in the intermediate sprints.


“In the final there was two goals, one was to keep Esteban in the bunch because a lot of times in those hectic sprints there is a real danger that if Esteban wasn’t right up the front he could miss the time split.


“The other one was to set up Caleb in the final.  It’s was definitely a messy finish today and it’s a really tricky final here, it narrows down at 500m to go and our guys got a little bit caught and they just couldn’t get out in time.”


The traditional pancake flat final stage showcased some of China’s most famous landmarks as riders made their way from Tiananmen Square to the 2008 Olympic Bird’s Nest for 12laps of an eight kilometre circuit.


Laurent Mangel (FDJ) and Tosh Van der Sande (LTB) established in the first 20km and on entry into the circuit had two minutes on the peloton. BMC Racing headed up a relaxed peloton as the gap hovered around the three-minute mark.


Garmin-Sharp and Giant-Shimano moved to the front in the final three laps as a late chase began. Late it was, with the desperate catch only made in the final kilometre.


The end of the 2014 Tour of Beijing sees the end of the 2014 season for ORICA-GreenEDGE. The Australian outfit will resume racing again in the Australian summer of cycling in January.



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