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'It is just the start and the start for all us,' says Howson.







30.05.2016 @ 10:04 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

The confidence that a grand tour triumph lies within Esteban Chaves' grasp was shared by his teammates at Orica-GreenEdge in the wake of his overall placing as runner-up to Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali in this year's Giro d'Italia.


Damien Howson, a 23-year-old Australian teammate of Chaves’, and one of the Orica-GreenEdge riders who shone in his role as a climber to help Chaves in the Giro, said the team is "ready to go" and aid their Colombian climbing specialist scale the final step up on the podium.


"The way Esteban puts it, it is just the start and the start for all us," Howson told Cyclingnews before Sunday's 163km stage 21 of the Giro from Cuneo to Torino won by the German Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin). "There is a Grand Tour win for Orica-GreenEdge and for Esteban."


"He was second in the Giro, which was a massive credit to him," Howson said. "It's also a massive credit to the team that has worked really hard for the last three weeks. It takes some serious concentration, day-in, day-out; massive amounts of effort to [help Chaves] save as much energy as possible, for him to do the finishing touches and his best result."


Chaves will forego the Tour de France and thus this year's Vuelta is likely to be his next chance to have a go at a grand tour. If selected, Howson said he would gladly join the Colombian in his Spanish campaign.


"The Vuelta last year was the first experience I had riding for Esteban," Howson said. "I got a really good taste of what the role was and what I had to do to fulfil it. It is something I worked a lot in the summer, knowing I was coming to the Giro for the role and hopefully to take a step in the right direction and be a more important asset to him."


Howson also spoke about the inevitable fatigue that riders face over there weeks, especially coming into the last and mountainous week of racing.


"The third week … It's definitely physical and mental fatigue that gets to everyone," Howson said of what he learned. "It’s something that I realised … that it's not just me who gets tired. It's the whole race, so it’s something you are conscious of and have to keep fighting.”



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