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After eight years with the BikeExchange organization, Esteban Chaves is headed elsewhere next season. EF Education-Nippo has announced that the 31-year-old Colombian is coming aboard in 2022.
“I’m excited about everything!” Chaves said via a team press release. “New bike, new kit, new teammates, new helmet, new races, new challenges. I feel like a neo-pro again.”
Chaves showed immense promise as an under-23 rider with a win at the Tour de l’Avenir in 2012. Serious injuries sustained in a crash sidelined him for much of 2013, but the then-Orica-GreenEdge team took a chance on him and he promptly showed the cycling world that the team’s faith in him was well-founded with a strong debut season at the WorldTour level in 2014. Over the next two seasons, Chaves finished on two Grand Tour podiums, compiled three Grand Tour stage wins, and took Colombia’s first ever Monument title with a victory at Il Lombardia, among other big results.
Injury and illness derailed his efforts at times over the next several years, but he won two further stages at the Giro in 2018 and 2019. He has also enjoyed some success so far in 2021, taking his first WorldTour win in nearly two years on stage 4 of this year’s Volta a Catalunya, where he also finished sixth overall, and finishing in the top 10 at the Itzulia Basque Country, La Flèche Wallonne, and the Tour de Suisse as well.
After riding to 13th at this year’s Tour de France, he is expected to make his second Grand Tour start of the season for BikeExchange at the upcoming Vuelta a España.
With his compatriot Sergio Higuita set to depart EF for Bora-Hangsrohe, Chaves’s arrival will give the team a new climbing talent on which to rely in the coming seasons.
“It’s our view that Esteban will have a great next few years,” team CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “He’s overcome his health issues and showed this year he has consistency. We feel that he’s poised to break out and turn that consistency into wins. He’ll fit right into the nature of our team, which places human qualities of any rider, at the top of the list.”