Orica-GreenEdge’s Esteban Chaves will switch his attention to the Giro this year after a dazzling performance in the Vuelta a Espana in 2015.
It was a breakthrough performance from the 26-year-old last summer, as he finished fifth. But this year the main aim is the Italian Grand Tour, and with the right resources behind him he could certainly bring home the pink jersey for Orica.
Orica have always put together a strong team, but this year it looks stronger as ever. The Yates twins Andy and Simon will be gunning for more stages in the Tour de France; and then in Caleb Ewan the Australian outfit have a young sprinter that could be the next big thing in cycling.
The Giro is a ‘really important objective’ for Chaves this year
The Giro will play into the hands of Chaves as he is a great climber, and if the balance of the team is right heading into the second and third weeks, Chaves will have a great chance.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Chaves said: “I’m really looking forward to doing the Giro d’Italia this year and it’s a really important objective for me and the team.”
The 26-year-old has hopes to "race at a really good level" because the team is "targeting a result in the GC".
All the Grand Tours are special, but the Giro has that romantic feel to it.
Many of greats have ridden and won the Giro and Chaves want to etch his name into the history books with a victory.
Chaves admitted he "really love[s] racing in Italy" and feels that "the Giro is always something very special".
He added, "We’re all looking forward to continue Orica-GreenEdge’s great experiences at this amazing race."
White commends Chaves' abilities
Orica’s exuberant sports director Matthew White admits Chaves is growing into a GC contender, and that he will be the protected leader in the Giro.
“Esteban is rapidly growing into a real GC contender and for every big race he does, he adds a lot of experience,” White said.
“We saw him do a fantastic Vuelta last year and this year he’ll be our protected leader in the Giro,” continued White.
Chaves is still only young in terms of pro-riders, and has plenty of learning to do, but White is confident Chaves can deliver with the right resources behind him: “He still has a lot of development potential in the Grand Tours, but he’s definitely ready to take another big step towards the GC."
White confirmed that the "Giro means a lot to his team", but believes that with "Esteban in top shape" then they'll "have a strong card to play over the course of three hard weeks.”