Esteban Chaves has said that he still dreams of winning the Tour de France, though he has yet to confirm his race programme for the revised 2020 season. The Colombian has focused primarily on the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España during his career, and he has participated in the Tour on just one occasion, placing 62nd overall in 2017.
“I fell in love with cycling when I was twelve, watching the Tour de France. It was the race that captivated me,” Chaves told Spanish podcast El Maillot. “I have a dream, and that is to win the Tour de France. I work with that goal in mind. If you ask me if I can win the Tour, I say yes.”
In 2016, Chaves placed second overall at the Giro – losing the maglia rosa to Vincenzo Nibali on the penultimate day – and third at the Vuelta, but he has struggled to scale such heights as a general classification contender since. His 2018 season was ruined by mononucleosis, though he managed to win a stage on that year’s Giro and add another in 2019.
“My stage victory at the last Giro d'Italia confirmed that I am completely healthy,” Chaves said. “If I think back now about the symptoms I had, I had been carrying the disease since 2017. In 2018, it broke out. I had tests and got a diagnosis.”
Chaves’ Mitchelton-Scott team will be rebranded as Team Manuela Fondación by the time the season resumes in mid-summer but the 30-year-old has yet to decide on his racing programme. He placed 7th overall at the Tour Colombia in February but has yet to race in Europe in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the season in March.
“I haven’t yet defined my goals for this season, although I see myself competing in the big stage races,” said Chaves, who has been training at home in Colombia during the hiatus from racing. For the initial phase of lockdown, Chaves and his fellow professional riders in Colombia were unable to train outdoors, though the restriction was lifted in early May.
“Human beings have the ability to adapt to change. It is important to go day by day and try to be as smart as possible when things return to normal, although I think the world will not be the same after all this.”
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