The diminutive Colombian won a lot of fans at the Vuelta as he won stages two and six and smiled his way through the entire race.
But at the Giro this year the 26-year-old Chaves hopes to prove he’s not just the nice guy in the peloton, but a rider who can win Grand Tours.
“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,” he said. “I hope to be able to race at a really good level and we are targeting a result in the GC.”
“I really love racing in Italy and the Giro is always something very special. We’re all looking forward to continue Orica-GreenEdge’s great experiences at this amazing race.”
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Chaves completed the Giro last year, finishing 55th overall, with the team wearing the pink jersey from stage one to five.
With a 9.8km individual time trial to open the 2016 edition, it’s unlikely that Orica will wear the leader’s jersey after the first stage, meaning the team may have more resources at hand to support Chaves in his battles in the second and third weeks.
“Esteban is rapidly growing into a real GC contender and for every big race he does, he adds a lot of experience,” sports director Matthew White said. “We saw him do a fantastic Vuelta last year and this year he’ll be our protected leader in the Giro.”
“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.
“The Giro is a race that means a lot to us as a team and with Esteban in top shape, we’ll have a strong card to play over the course of three hard weeks.”