Chaves impresses in Giro d'Italia opener

Orica-GreenEdge GC hopeful 33rd in Appeldoorn

Orica-GreenEdge placed two riders in the top-20 of the Giro d'Italia's first stage in Appeldoorn but it was the performance of Esteban Chaves that was most pleasing for the Australian team. Michael Hepburn, last man to start the 10km time trial, finished in 19th just one second slower than Damien Howson in 17th place while Chaves came home in 33rd place, 30 seconds down on winner Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)

"It was definitely a good day for us," said sports director Matt White. "Esteban (Chaves) produced an excellent ride over a course that doesn't naturally suit his strengths. Today was a flat day for the big powerful riders not the smaller climbers which makes Esteban's result very impressive."

Orica-GreenEdge are aiming to place Chaves on the podium at the Giro after the Colombian's breakout at last year's Vuelta a Espana when he won two stages and enjoyed stints in the leader's jersey. Having posted a better time than fellow GC aspirants such as Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) and 2012 Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo), Chaves already finds himself on the front foot and in an enviable position as White explained.

"To be in front of the vast majority of general classification competitors and just behind the big favourites is a really good start to the race for us," said White.

"Seconds do matter in a grand tour, they can be all important. Today's performance gives Esteban and the team a lot of confidence going into the rest of the race, in particular the individual time trial in Chianti on stage ten."

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In the last two editions of the Giro, Orica-GreenEdge have enjoyed highly successful first weeks with Svein Tuft, Michael Matthews, Simon Clarke and Simon Gerrans all wearing the maglia rosa off the back of team time trial wins. With no TTT in 2016 and the maglia rosa out of reach for now, Orica-GreenEdge are aiming for stage wins in the first week with Caleb Ewan, who won a stage in his grand tour debut at last year's Vuelta, before switching focus to the GC with Chaves. 

For a Q&A with the 21-year-old on his sprinting position, leadout and Giro ambitions, click here 

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