Former Tour de l’Avenir winner Chaves inks two year deal with Orica GreenEdge
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Friday, October 18, 2013

Former Tour de l’Avenir winner Chaves inks two year deal with Orica GreenEdge

by VeloNation Press at 5:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Colombian rider recovering steadily from injury, should add climbing firepower to team

Esteban ChavesThe 2011 Tour de l’Avenir winner Esteban Chaves has boosted the climbing talent on the Orica GreenEdge team by agreeing to a two year deal with the Australian WorldTour squad.

The 23 year old Colombian has spent the past two years with Team Colombia but missed most of this season when he suffered a serious crash in the Trofeo Laigueglia on February 16th. He suffered a range of fractures and also had nerve damage which necessitated an operation at the end of May.

At the time El Tiempo reported that there was a chance he would only recover seventy percent of the movement in his arm, but Orica GreenEdge are satisfied that he is making good progress now.

Chaves thanked the team for its show of faith him in and said he was pleased to be part of the setup. “This is a great opportunity for me and a dream come true after a very difficult year.”

He has been involved in cycling for ten years and won the Tour de l’Avenir in 2011. One year later, he clocked up his first pro win in taking a stage in the Vuelta a Burgos. He finished third overall in the event, and won the Gran Premio Città di Camaiore.

“The last three years of my career have been very important. I have been able to compete at the highest level and I have learnt some small things, but I obviously still have a lot to learn,” he said.

“The biggest moments in my career have been the overall win at Tour de l’Avenir and my first win as a professional on the mountain stage of Vuelta Burgos. I feel the win in Burgos was the most important. It filled me with emotion to take such a fine win after a difficult start to the season.”

He is the sixth new rider confirmed as joining the team next season. According to directeur sportif Neil Stephens, he has very considerable potential.

“The first time I saw Esteban race was in the Tour de l’Avenir in 2011,” he stated. “I knew then that he would be a great talent in the cycling world. It's a coincidence that I was also present at the Tour of Burgos to watch him win the mountain stage to Laguna de Neila. As soon as I found out we had a chance to sign him, I knew we had to take this opportunity.”

Chaves’ Trofeo Laigueglia crash was a threat to his career, but recent medical assessments by Orica GreenEdge’s medical team have been reassuring.

He is relieved that things appear to be turning a corner. “This year has been quite difficult for me,” he said. “Perhaps, it has been the most difficult in my sporting career. I thank God, my family, doctors, physiotherapists, friends, trade team and the Colombian Olympic Committee for giving me their support and understanding through such a difficult period.

“Right from the injury through the surgery in May, my recovery has been very positive. We continue to work very hard, day after day, to be one hundred percent as soon as possible.”

Stephens accepts that things have been difficult, but believes that the outcome will be positive for both the rider and the team. “Working with Esteban through his recovery is a challenge for all of us,” he said. “But I’m sure the rewards will more than repay our efforts.”

Chaves’ is determined to try to recover the lost momentum, saying that he expects a lot out of next season. “My initial objective is to rejoin the peloton and get over any initial nerves from not having raced for quite a while . From there, I hope to continue to gain confidence toward the most important races. Any type of result I achieve along the way will be a bonus.”

He said that he has been very motivated to see other Colombian riders achieve big results; these include Tour de France stage winner and overall runner-up Nairo Quintana, as well as Giro runner-up Rigoberto Uran, Sergio Henao and Carlos Betancur.

“In a way, it inspires the thought that I can also achieve great results at that level if I continue to work hard and remain patient,” he stated.

Orica GreenEdge will also have the same hopes.

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