Nationality: Colombian Date of birth: January 17, 1990 Height: 164cm Weight: 54kg Team: Orica-Scott Twitter:@estecharu
Esteban Chaves wrote his name into the cycling history books in October 2016 by becoming the first non-European to win Il Lombardia, taking the biggest win of his young career in the process.
The diminutive Colombian has won the hearts of cycling fans the world over in recent years with his cheerful disposition and ear-to-ear smile which has been seen on the podiums of the Grand Tours over the past 18 months.
The 2016 Vuelta saw him record successive podium finishes, ending up third overall behind Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome. His form from the Spanish race held him in good stead for the end-of-season Italian Classics as he won the Giro dell’Emilia and Il Lombardia in quick succession.
Chaves, born in Colombia’s capital Bogotá, first came to prominence as an amateur in 2011 when he won the prestigious youth race, the Tour de l’Avenir in France by 17 seconds.
He then turned professional with his native Colobia-Coldeportes team in 2012, competing in European races like Tirreno-Adriatico and Vuelta a Burgos.
Things took a downward turn for Chaves though in 2013, as he suffered near career-ending injuries in a crash in the Trofeo Laigueglia race in Italy.
Doctors in Colombia doubted whether he would ever race again, but eventually he was able to begin recuperation and the road back to racing after a nine-hour surgery to repair frayed nerves in his arm.
Chaves quickly moved up to cycling’s top level after his return to racing, signing a two-year deal with Orica-GreenEdge in 2014.
He immediately made an impression too, winning difficult mountain stages at the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse, before his remarkable 2015 which saw him win the Abu Dhabi Tour as well as his success in the Vuelta.
After that impressive year, Orica made their first full attempt at a Grand Tour general classification win with Chaves as leader at the 2016 Giro. He finished second.
Chaves has spoken publicly about his struggles returning back to racing following his ongoing struggle with Epstein-Barr virus. Several injuries and time spent recuperating hint at his return to his former level. 2019 saw him win a stage of the Giro d’Italia and also sign a contract extension with Mitchelton-Scott until 2021.
His team director Matt White has been quoted saying ‘he can win at any race on the calendar’ as long as his health is right.
Giro d’Italia – Stage 19
Giro d’Italia – Stage 6
Herald Sun Tour – Overall
Giro d’Italia – second overall
Giro d’Italia – stage 14
Vuelta a Espana – third overall
Vuelta a España – fifth overall
Vuelta a España – stages two and six
Abu Dhabi Tour – first overall
Abu Dhabi Tour – stage three
Tour de Suisse – stage eight
Tour of California – stage six