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Following a 2016 season that yielded podium finishes in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, Esteban Chaves will try his luck in the Tour de France this summer.
The 27-year-old is penciled in to lead Orica – Scott at the French grand tour, which kicks off July 1 with a time trial in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Chaves had a breakthrough year in 2016, winning the Giro di Lombardia and the Giro dell’Emilia, along with second overall at the Giro and third overall at the Vuelta.
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Orica sport director Matt White said Chaves is ready for the big one.
“Esteban has proved that he is ready, and he deserves this opportunity,” White said. “I think it’s pretty unrealistic to expect anyone to win their first Tour de France but physically, Esteban has shown he can ride general classification at grand tours and he can handle the stress involved.”
Chaves said his 2016 results show he can hang with the best GC riders in the peloton.
“Everyone says the Tour de France is a really different race, that it’s a lot of pressure and it’s super big, but I want to believe it is just one bicycle race and try to enjoy how much more is possible for me to achieve,” Chaves said.
“The Giro and Vuelta are proof I can do really well and I can stay with the best riders in the world.”
Chaves’s commitment to racing at the Tour de France boosts the already strong field that includes three-time winner Chris Froome (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Alberto Contador (Trek – Segafredo), and Richie Porte (BMC Racing).
Chaves kicked off his 2017 campaign with a runner-up at the Santos Tour Down Under.
In other Orica news, the squad will send twins Adam and Simon Yates to the Giro d’Italia as it looks to make some noise in the season’s first grand tour. The pair of climbers will conduct a two-pronged attack on the pink jersey during the race’s 100th edition.
Later this summer, the Yates brothers and Chaves are all scheduled to race at the Vuelta.
“It’s a big load to do two grand tours, and ever since I have been a professional I have only done one grand tour per year,” Simon Yates said. “I really think it will help massively for the future as I progress as a rider.”
Added his brother Adam, “The 100th edition gives the Giro some big prestige this year. If we can get as close to the podium as possible, that is the aim. There is a lot of time trialling and a lot of big names but we are putting the work in, we are working hard and we will see how it goes.”