Mitchelton-Scott have confirmed that Esteban Chaves will return to the Giro d’Italia this season. Chaves will be riding in support of Simon Yates, who is set to lead the team following his overall victory at the Vuelta a Espana last September.
Chaves rode last year’s edition of the Corsa Rosa, along with Yates, and won stage 6 to Mt Etna. Yates moved into the leader’s maglia rosa on the same day and would take three stage victories in pink before cracking dramatically on the penultimate mountain stage, with Chris Froome going on to win in Rome.
The Giro d'Italia was Chaves’ final race of the 2018 after he was diagnosed with mononucleosis and ordered to rest. The Colombian made his long-awaited return to racing at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February and has since completed 25 days of racing, with his most recent race the Volta a Catalunya.
“It will be special like always when I go back to Italy. I have a special relationship with Italy and last year in Rome was one of the toughest days on the bike for me. Last year’s Giro, for me and for the team, had a lot of ups and downs, so to go back there for this race is special and exciting," Chaves said when Mitchelton-Scott confirmed his return to the Corsa Rosa.
“We are a team who always give 100 per cent to each other. We will do the same at the Giro and we are already doing that at the last races with this goal in mind. The expectations are the same as always - enjoy racing and being part of this team, attacking and being aggressive just like we were on the final stage of [the Volta a] Catalunya.”
Chaves took his first Grand Tour podium at the Giro d’Italia in 2016 but finished 72nd last season after losing more than 20 minutes on the first stage following the rest day. He is optimistic but cautious about his 2019 season after suffering with mononucleosis.
“I was super excited to return to racing this year but also nervous and I can't lie, sometimes panicked. What happened last year is something is out of my control," he explained.
"When I was finally back training and racing, somewhere in my head I was worried that it can come back. Luckily, I have this team and people around me who support me 100 per cent and we did everything in our control for my health.
“Now I feel much better than the start. Before, everything was with a lot of question marks, but now I can see and I have experienced what is possible. Every day of racing we took a step forward. I'm on the good path to arrive at the best level I can without health problems.”
Mitchelton-Scott have listed the Giro d’Italia as Chaves' next race – ‘pending fitness and final team selection’ – meaning that Chaves would not race for the next five weeks.