Orica-GreenEdge’s Esteban Chaves cracked on the final mountain stage of the Giro D’Italia as Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali produced a turnaround which will no doubt go down as one of the best finishes the Giro has ever seen.
Two stages before Nibali looked dead and buried, as one three consecutive stages he lost 43 seconds, then 2m10sec, and then finally 1m47sec. But after Steven Kruijswijk crashed on stage 19, he seemed to be resurrected as he took the stage and gained time on his rival Chaves.
But for Chaves it as heartbreak; heading into the penultimate stage, and what was the toughest, he held a 44 second advantage over Nibali. But on the final climb on the Colle della Lombarda he couldn’t keep up with the ‘Sharks’’ attack.
Chaves' team Orica have been superb from start to finish in what was the 99th edition of the Giro; the likes of Sam Bewley, Michael Hepburn and Ruben Plaza gave Chaves everything they could in helping the Columbian get over the line with the Maglia Rosa still intact.
Chaves admits he ‘didn’t have the legs’ as Nibali defied the odds to win the Giro
Losing to Nibali is no shame, the classy Italian never seems to know when he is beaten; and with all the hype surrounding him this time, it looked like the pressure got to the Sicilian rider.
But his victory is one the best finishes to a Grand Tour; but for the 26-year-old Chaves he was grateful for the support of his family and friends, saying: “This is the first time for my parents here in Europe, the first time for me with the pink jersey.”
The team of Astana proved that they are one of the best, and the contribution of Michele Scarponi yesterday was one of the main reasons why Nibali had the chance of fighting for the Maglia Rosa.
“We are happy nonetheless, we gave the most we could. Today, Nibali and Scarponi showed they are the best. I didn’t have the legs. Life is like that, that’s it,” Chaves said.
Despite Chaves saying he ‘didn’t have the legs’ this Giro was a watershed moment for the gutsy Columbian, speaking after yesterday’s stage: “I learned in this Giro that you can reach your dreams, and if you keep going hard, don’t give up, you can do it.”