Despite losing the Giro d'Italia on the final climbs of the three week race, Esteban Chaves is keeping things in perspective

Colombian Esteban Chaves lost the pink jersey and his chance to win the Giro d’Italia on stage 20 in the sun-soaked Alps above Turin, Italy.

In the final mountain stage, he could not follow Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and slipped to second overall, but says, “It’s only a bike race.”

Orica-GreenEdge‘s captain, winner of the Corvara stage last week, took the pink jersey lead on stage 19 by 44 seconds.

On stage 20 he struggled to follow Nibali’s attacks and lost 1-36 by Sant’Anna di Vinadio. His parents, who arrived from Colombia yesterday, congratulated Nibali and comforted Chaves.

“This is the first time for my parents here in Europe, the first time for me with the pink jersey,” 26-year-old Chaves said. “That’s the biggest thing for me in life. We only lost a bike race.”

Chaves slipped behind on the Colle della Lombarda climb and never recovered. Nibali had first launched with teammate Michele Scarponi and then joined Tanel Kangert, who dropped back from an early escape.

>>> Five talking points from stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia

“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 showing no sign of disappointment in the mix of journalists.

“Yeah [I had to take antibiotics], but that’s not an excuse. I’m not a guy who says it was for this or that reason, no, simply that I didn’t have the legs. That’s it.”

The bike that almost took Chaves to overall glory

Chaves made his mark in the grand tours last year when he won two stages and placed fifth overall in the Vuelta a España. The breakthrough marked a comeback after a crash in February 2013 that ripped his axillary nerve apart completely and the suprascapular nerve partially.

“I learned in this Giro that you can reach your dreams,” Chaves added. “If you keep going hard, don’t give up, you can do it.”

He could have become only the second only Colombian to win the Giro d’Italia after Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won in 2014. Quintana this year is aiming for the Tour de France and Chaves is returning home to prepare for a likely run at the Vuelta.

  • Michael

    The TdF is not the only race where Froome, Contador and Quintana compete, for example. So I’m not sure where your “only watch TdF” comment came from.

    Sure, they are not all going to be on form at the same time, but that’s a more hypothetical wish – I just think it would be better if that were achieved rather than yourself who seems to dislike the best riders winning.

    I watch all the races of the riders I follow and I pay attention to the results of the ones I don’t watch.

  • John Senior

    From your comment I imagine you only watch the TDF which by definition has all the best riders which doesn’t always make for the best/ most competitive racing. You might want to give some thought to who the best riders will be in five years time – they were probably all in the top 10 of this Giro.

  • ummm…

    haha, James is surely saving all his bags of money for the Tour!

  • Chumply Chummunderson

    I don’t normally go in for conspiracy theories, but if Landa had won (which I doubt, given the strength of my intel “the ‘Ndrangheta and the Cosa Nostra had already allied……..” I could probably have bought into a ‘Murdoch pay off’ conspiracy.

  • ummm…

    darn, i was willing to buy into that conspiracy theory too – that one sounded like fun.

  • Michael

    Oh come on. The only reason any of these so-called ‘second string’ led the race for a bit was because there was no one in it.

    That’s the reason Nibali won too for that matter (he only won the TdF because the better riders crashed out)

    How is that better? I’d prefer to see race with a large number of the top riders competing – and in form, not a race with no top riders and just a fading star scraping a win at the end, or a race where only a couple are in form (which was a bit like last years TdF)

  • John Senior

    Yep – best! Winner unpredictable – no sky hill climbing train – numerous wearers of leaders jersey – like last years ToS but on a grander scale. I love Froome but we all know where Sky, Saxo and Movistar will come from in France and there is zero chance of a ‘second string’ favourite making the running / possibly Landa if he gets a ride.

  • Chumply Chummunderson

    I’ve no idea where they get it from, sorry. I just have to listen to their incessant nonsense every club run that coincides with a pro-race.

  • ummm…

    really? best?

  • ummm…

    where did you get that bit of gossip? i’d like to read it.

  • Chumply Chummunderson

    I too had really enjoyed this Giro (slight caveat, stage 17 was like watching paint dry until the last 75m), and then I went on this morning’s club run. Sadly, being the club man that I am (soon to be was) I’d already committed.
    Back to the Giro, apparently, from what I could gather, given the venom that was being spewed amongst the conspiracy theorists, the ‘Ndrangheta and the Cosa Nostra had allied and combined to fix it all for an Italian win.
    Four hours of continuous whinging and moaning, on a Sunday morning, without any enjoyment? I may as well stay at home.
    I think I need a new club.

  • ridein

    Loved the drama over the last 2 days, Chaves will win his own grand tour another day.

  • John Senior

    Lessons in humility and dignity from Chavez, Nibali and Steven Kruijswijk – why we love cycling. Best Grand Tour in Years!!

  • Ciaran Carroll

    Chaves seems to be a nice guy, sad to see him lose the jersey on the last day. Gutted for Kruijswijk too, he was the strongest in the race in my opinion.