Esteban Chaves secures emotional Giro Stage 19 win
Colombian took eight-month break from cycling last year due to Epstein-Barr virus
Colombia’s Esteban Chaves celebrates victory in Stage 19 of the Giro D’Italia. Photograph: Luk Benies/AFP/Getty
Colombian competitor Esteban Chaves displayed a return to form after a tough year on Friday, expressing relief when he took stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider started last year’s Giro d’Italia as one of the race favourites but after winning stage six, his race hopes collapsed when he lost chunks of time. He was subsequently diagnosed with Epstein-Barr Virus and was sidelined from competition until February of this year.
“This is pure happiness,” he said at the summit finish at San Martino di Castrozza, Trentino. “It takes a heavy weight off my back. It’s a relief to be a winner again. It shows I can do it. Because the last climb wasn’t very steep, I had to attack many, many times. A big thank you to everyone who supported me when I had a hard time.”
Chaves was part of the day’s 11-man breakaway and finally broke the elastic with just under three kilometres to go. The overall contenders weren’t concerned about the breakaway and allowed them gain time before duking things out between themselves on the final climb. Another Colombian, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) was the only one able to make a difference and picked up 44 seconds over race leader Richard Carapaz (Movistar) plus the other general classification riders.
Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar again rode in support of Ineos teammate Pavel Sivakov, finishing 24th, some six seconds behind the Carapaz group. Carapaz continues to lead closest challenger Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) by one minute 54 seconds, with Dunbar staying 22nd overall. He is also a fine sixth in the best young rider classification.
The Giro continues on Saturday with the final mountain stage. The 194 kilometre stage to Croce D’Aune-Monte Avena will see Nibali and others vying to narrow their deficit before Sunday’s concluding time trial but, unless Carapaz weakens dramatically, his first Grand Tour victory is all but certain. As for Dunbar, his debut in a three week event illustrates his talent and the potential for major future success.
Giro d’Italia, Italy (WorldTour):
Stage 19, Treviso to San Martino di Castrozza: 1, Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) 151 kilometres in 4 hours 1 min 31 secs; 2, A. Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) at 10 secs; 3, A. Antunes (CCC Team) at 12 secs; 4, G. Carboni (Bardiani CSF) at 24 secs; 5, P. Serry (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at 32 secs; 6, F. Bidard (AG2R La Mondiale) at 35 secs
Irish: 24, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 6 mins 35 secs; 133, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) at 24 mins 9 secs
General classification after stage 19: 1, Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) 83 hours 52 mins 22 secs; 2, V. Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at 1 min 54 secs; 3, P. Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) at 2 mins 16 secs; 4, M. Landa (Movistar Team) at 3 mins 3 secs; 5, B. Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at 5 mins 7 secs; 6, M. Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) at 5 mins 33 secs
Irish: 22, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 37 mins 26 secs; 135, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) at 4 hours 44 mins 6 secs
Points classification: 1, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 226 pts; 2, A. Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 213; 3, D. Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane) 104
Mountains classification: 1, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 229 pts; 2, R. Carapaz (Movistar Team) 66; 3, F. Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 57
Young riders classification: 1, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team 8) at 3 hours 57 mins 55 secs; 2, P. Sivakov (Team Ineos) at 2 mins 54 secs; 3, H. John Carthy (EF Education First) at 9 mins 18 secs
Irish: 6, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 31 mins 53 secs