Orica-GreenEdge have announced Esteban Chaves will remain with the team for the following three seasons, having extended his contract until the end of the 2018. The 25-year-old Colombian is currently racing the Vuelta a Espana, having won two stages in the first week and worn the race leader's red jersey for six days
"I'll stay for three more years with Orica-GreenEdge, and actually I am really happy for that," Chaves said of the extension. "I feel really good in this team. Like I've said before, it's like one big family. The team gave me a big opportunity in a difficult moment in my life, and I want to thank them for that and I want to work really hard.
"The team has confidence in me and this is important. The team is relaxed and is filled with passion. Three years is a time I can work to something bigger. I have done a lot this Vuelta, but I have said all my life I want to win the Tour de France one day."
Sport director Neil Stephens, who was instrumental in the team signing Chaves in 2013, explained it was a deal both parties wanted.
"We are really pleased with how Esteban has developed," Stephens said. "It's really just confirmation of everything we thought Esteban would be."
"We gave him confidence after his injury and worked with him with patience, and he has responded to that and transformed into a fantastic bike rider."
Chaves, the 2011 Tour de l'Avenir champion, suffered an almost career-ending crash at the 2013 Trofeo Laigueglia in February that ruled him out of the remainder of the season. In his first season with Orica-GreenEdge in 2014, Chaves won summit finishes at the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse, made his Vuelta a España debut and finished the season with third overall at the Tour of Beijing, where he also sealed the best young rider classification.
In 2015, Chaves was part of the Giro d'Italia team that won the opening time trial and enjoyed a stint in the best young rider jersey during the first week. Chaves' Vuelta performances, which have included leading all four of the races' classifications and current overall position of sixth place, represents the potential the team believed in when they initially signed him.
"We'd hoped that Esteban would achieve what he has," Stephens said. "I saw a guy that was really committed, that gives everything to his training and his diet and the way he conducts himself. I guess it is all happening a little faster than we imagined. Every goal we set, he achieved that and a bit more. And now, even here at the Vuelta, he has done everything we asked of him and a bit more.
Along with the Yates twins, Adam and Simon, Chaves will be one of the team's general classification riders for the Grand Tours in 2016, and Stephens said the team will be aiming to replicate its Vuelta success as standard in three-week races.
"I think that we were all a little surprise with the level he is at, but in the next few yeas we, and Esteban in particular, will expect this to be his level. That's going to be hard at times. It's an added responsibility for everyone, but Esteban is ready and the whole Orica-GreenEdge outfit is up for it as well," Stephens said.
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