After a breakthrough in 2015, Esteban Chaves has confirmed he will target both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana next season. The Colombian, who did both the Giro and Vuelta in 2015, informed Cyclingnews last month that a dual Grand Tour programme was possible. He is also looking for a place in the Olympic team in Rio in 2016. Chaves impressed last year with a strong performance at the Vuelta a Espana in September and subsequent overall win at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour.
“I will have two major objectives: the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana and I would like to be part of the Colombian selection for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,” he said in an interview with Colombian website Publimetro.co. “I am in the pre-selection. In cycling, you can’t say eight months before the competition if you will be there or not. It depends on a lot because we are human and we get ill, we crash, we can have family situations that don’t let us train. Now I am in the selection; we will see later, when the race is closer, if I can be in the Olympics or not.”
The Colombian team is set to be a strong one with riders such as Nairo Quintana, Carlos Betancur and Rigoberto Urán all potential starters in Rio. It also means that the competition will be hot for the few spots available but that, says Chaves, won’t change the camaraderie between them.
“We are rivals because we race in different coloured jerseys, but we are friends at the end of the race,” Chaves said. “We are delighted when a Colombian wins. We are happy when we are in hotels together, when we are in competition, we are constantly in touch. The relationship with them is very good, and we are always happy for the success of the others.”
After a serious accident in 2013 that almost ended his career, Chaves has completed two full seasons of racing with Orica-GreenEdge. He had a strong debut season in the WorldTour with victories at the Tour de Suisse and Tour of California. After a slow start to this season, Chaves went onto win two stages of the Vuelta a Espana in the opening week and spent six days in the leader’s jersey. The 25-year-old went on to take fifth overall and carried his form into his final race of the year at the Abu Dhabi Tour.
“I arrived at the Vuelta a Espana after two years of preparation, where I did a Giro d’Italia this year and last year we did the Vuelta a Espana that was my first three-week race. I’ve has two seasons in the WorldTour, that has also been really important, always having competition in the WorldTour,” he said. It is now only those two years, there has also been a lot of progression before that, in Team Colombia, when I was racing with Nairo (Quintana) in the Tour de l’Avenir with the Colombian team, in my junior teams… The whole process has taken me to the Vuelta a Espana 2015.”
Chaves will remain with the Orica-GreenEdge team until 2018 after signing a three-year extension to his contract with the team.