The 38.7km race against the clock was identified as one of the biggest challenges in the two-time stage winner’s pursuit for a top overall result, but the 25-year-old managed an impressive 20th on the stage.
The ride moved Chaves (Orica-GREENEDGE) ahead of Mikel Nieve (Team Sky), but strong rides by Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Team Movistar) saw them overtake Chaves, leaving him seventh on GC.
“I am really happy,” Chaves said. “The most important thing for me is that I could do one big effort after two weeks of racing and this is one step up in my career and in the time trial for me also.”
Sport director Neil Stephens said the ride was better than he had predicted and credited the Colombian’s commitment and hard work.
“We were worried about a couple of stages and this was one of the main ones in the Vuelta,” Stephens said. “I did a rough calculation in my head on where we would be after today’s stage and I thought eighth or ninth.”
“20th on the stage is an unbelievable result. That’s Esteban’s best time trial result ever and it comes at the end of two and a half weeks of hard racing."
It was a bittersweet day for the Australian team, however, as both Cameron Meyer and Damien Howson crashed during their runs. While Howson escaped without serious injury, Meyer fractured the end of his right collarbone. The 27-year-old will not require surgery but was forced to withdraw from the Vuelta.