• Chaves has been working on his TT skills and it paid off in Stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) remains on track for his Giro d’Italia bid despite slipping seven places down the general classification following the stage nine time trial that came with a fear factor.
Sophie Smith

16 May 2016 - 7:38 AM  UPDATED 16 May 2016 - 5:51 PM

The race against the clock is not the Colombian’s strength but it was the wet and technical descents that he immediately addressed when he arrived at the Orica-GreenEdge bus and talked with sports director Matt White.

“It was just as terrifying watching because you can lose your Giro with one mistake,” White said.  “You’ve got to take a degree of risk, that’s racing, but I think Esteban had a very good balance there today.

“The rain added that extra dimension of risk and to get through unscathed was very pleasing.”

Chaves finished the 40.5km time trial through wine country on Sunday in 51st place – three minutes and 48 seconds down on winner Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo). Leading into the second rest day on Monday, he now sits 13th overall and trails overnight race leader Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) by two minutes and 31 seconds.

“He has worked on his TT ability over the last few years. He did a very solid prologue and again he has done a great TT on a course that doesn’t suit men at 55kg,” White observed. “Where he is, is perfect. The race hasn’t started yet. That’s round one.”

The majority of the Orica-GreenEdge team rode conservatively in the time trial during which several riders including general classification contender Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) crashed.

Chaves has matched his overall rivals over the first week of the Giro and with his key strength being climbing he is anticipated to try and make a true impression leading into the third.  “A couple of stages, if we do them, next weekend, you have a bad day and you’re losing three or four minutes not three or four seconds,” White said. “The Giro is the most brutal race on the calendar and if you have a good day you can make up a lot and if you have a bad day you can lose just as much.

“You can lose Grand Tours in the first week, they’re won in the last week and we certainly haven’t lost anything.”



White was happy with the first week of racing for his Australia-based outfit that managed dual goals with burgeoning sprinter Caleb Ewan searching for stage wins.

“Having two goals is always tricky but I think we’ve managed it well,” he said.