Esteban Chaves has rebounded from a troubled first half of 2017 and placed himself into a Vuelta a España podium position after five stages.
Cycling Central

24 Aug 2017 - 9:37 AM  UPDATED 24 Aug 2017 - 9:41 AM

The 27-year-old arrived at the finish of a testing Stage 5 finish with a resurgent Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and overall leader Chris Froome (Sky).

Froome and Chaves shared the 2016 Vuelta final podium, split by winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and a few minutes. 

“Today is a really really hard stage but we are really happy,” the Orica-Scott rider said. “We arrived in the top four for the GC guys on the first hard climb and this is a good signal for the future.”

The stage was described as mid-mountain but was perhaps more difficult than that, still, that's how it played out with Astana's Alexey Lutsenko winning out of the day long break. But it was still one where a tardy general classification (GC) contender could lose time and position.

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Chaves was watchful, and more importantly, had the legs to accelerate when it mattered, jumping three places even as riders like Vincenzo Nibali (Astana, lost both time and place

“I hate these climbs because you can’t take one pace," Chaves said. "Yes, I am Colombian and sometimes I can be explosive but I prefer one pace. In climbs like this, you rest and then boom, 20 per cent, and rest again."

He may not like it and that's broadly the nature of the Vuelta but he will later get his chance to ride a high tempo on a preferred mountain terrain and perhaps put himself in a position to usurp Froome.

Right now, 11 seconds is all that separates him from Froome but with a long Stage 16 time trial looming he'll need to do a lot of work to get over the top of the four-time Tour de France champion.

“The Vuelta a España has just started now," he said. "I’m happy with the team we have here. We work without words, we (are) just looking and we know what is the next step."

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