• Esteban Chaves is pushed by Tsgabu Grmay on the final climb of Stage 3 of La Vuelta (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
An untimely puncture in the final five kilometres took Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) out of contention on the third stage of La Vuelta a Espana.
By
SBS Cycling Central

23 Oct 2020 - 5:06 AM 

As the pace increased on the final climb, the Colombian climber was forced to pull over and twice change bikes before battling on to limit his losses, eventually finishing a little over one minute down on stage winner Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation).

“I had good legs, just bad luck," said Chaves. “I punctured and with the disc wheels we can’t take the wheel from a teammate so I took the bike of Tsgabu, a pretty high one.

“In that moment it was unbelievable because everyone is losing the wheel, the cars are really far back, back behind so I needed to wait with Tsgabu’s bike until (the car) could give me my bike and try to do the best to the finish line."

Chaves was helped by teammate Nick Schultz to try and regain the elite climbers but he could only help limit the damage.

“You need to stay calm, not panic," said Chaves. "We have a really good director here, Julian Dean, in the radio keeping me calm because if you panic you’re stuffed.

“One minute with two bike changes and four kilometres to the finish line, it was not bad. We need to keep the good sensations in mind, there’s a long way to the finish of the race.”

Chaves finished in 24th, a minute and six seconds behind the Irishman, slipping to eighth on the general classification, a minute and 29 seconds behind race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).