• Esteban Chaves suffered a costly mechanical on Stage 9 of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana (Getty)Source: Getty
Mitchelton-Scott's Vuelta GC hope Esteban Chaves suffered an ill-timed mechnical on the second climb of the day, a comical bike change adding further to his woes.
Cycling Central

Mitchelton Scott
2 Sep 2019 - 9:24 AM  UPDATED 2 Sep 2019 - 9:48 AM

The mechanical struck halfway up the Coll de la Gallina, the resulting panic forcing a bike swap with team mate Damien Howson who is almost a foot taller than the Colombian Kangaroo.

The Australian's bike was far too big for Chaves and he soon swapped again with Tsgabu Gramy - about 10cm taller - before a third and final bike change elsewhere during the pursuit.

Chaves' comical bike swap

Chaves almost made contact in the chase back on, but as the final climb, the gravel secteur and the weather took its toll, he finished the day four minutes and 30 seconds down on new race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar), the gap to his  fellow countryman now at six minutes and 51 seconds. Chaves sits 14th overall, his team mate Mikel Nieve the best placed Mitchelton-Scott rider in 11th. 

Despite the time loss and the brutal barrage, Chaves was in good spirits, laughing post-race and telling Eurosport "f*** that was scary."

He kept it a bit cleaner for the team press release. 

“I saw the time on the top of the clock and it was under three hours, so we went really, really fast and for me it was a really hard day, I needed to change the bike twice, three times on the Gallina climb, which is brutal.”

“After that I just tried to do my own pace until the line. They started to attack on the Comella and I can’t follow. I spent so much energy before so I tried to do the smartest thing I can. 

“It is what it is, it’s alive. We need to keep trying, keep going like always and try to enjoy this.”

The Vuelta a Espana resumes on Tuesday night after a rest day, LIVE from 11pm AEST and nightly on SBS Viceland or catch up with the daily highlights on SBS at 5pm.