Colombian Esteban Chaves delivered his first top-ten time trial result since 2016 on stage 4 of Paris-Nice to move into the top-ten overall. Chaves' tenth place, 33 seconds to stage winner Wout Poels (Team Sky), was the same time as teammate Simon Yates with the duo now tied overall at tenth and 11th overall.
Paris-Nice is Chaves' first race on European soil in 2018 and first outing since winning the Herald Sun Tour overall last month. A strong climber, Chaves had previously only placed top-ten once before against the clock when he was sixth at the 2016 Giro d'Italia.
"It was the first time I have caught someone in a time trial so it was a good feeling. This was really good today, I am happy and I felt really good. I think this is the second time trial I have done well in, in my life, the other was in Burgos in Vuelta Espana 2015," Chaves said of his 20th place result.
"This is really good for me especially because it is only March, but it is no accident, we put in a lot of work in in the wind tunnel and on the bike so this is a really good step for me."
The remaining stages of Paris-Nice suit the capabilities of Chaves and Yates as the race heads into the hills. With the GC still in play despite Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) sitting 48 seconds ahead of Chaves, the 28-year-old promised he and Yates will continue to try and improve their position.
"We have a really good option now Simon as our leader, but it is a big gap still 30seconds or more to guys like Poels, so for sure we will try and we will see what happens," he said.
Sports director Dave McPartland echoed Chaves' sentiments, adding the time trial proved his leaders are in form and focused on the best result they can post.
"It was a really great day for us. After yesterday's stage, it shows Yates' condition is excellent and Esteban has put a lot of work into the time trial so there was no reason for them not to do a good ride like they did today," McPartland said.
"We are half-way through Paris-Nice and we are just 33seconds off the lead (sic) and we are coming into our territory now with the coming hillier stages, so we are in a good place."
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