Chaves channeling Horner
Esteban Chaves is only 25 but he is doing a fabulous imitation of old man Chris Horner in this Vuelta a Espana.
The COlombian on Orica-GreenEdge has won two stages while big names like Chris Froome (Sky) have cracked a bit and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) have crashed out.
In other words, after eight days in the Spanish grand tour and holding the red jersey of race leader, Chaves is doing what Horner did two years ago in winning the Vuelta at age 41.
Like Horner, Chaves is surprising everyone and then surprising them again. In Horner’s case, Vincenzo Nibali underestimated the old man, assuming he would fade badly in week three. He didn’t, he got stronger, attacking Nibali relentlessly until the Italian cracked.
This time around the ages are different but the scenario is the same. Froome and Valverde both underestimated Chaves. They figured sure, he takes out an early mountain stage but Friday was supposed to be Chaves’ return to earth day, the hard summit finish on the Alto de Capileira would surely return to race to the big favorites.
Didn’t happen. Instead, Froome lost time, van Garderen crashed and Fabio Aru attacked to make up time. Chaves is still in red and like his countryman Nairo Quintana in hi creak-out Tour de France, he seems to be gathering confidence with each passing stage.
It’s the Helta Skelta Vuelta. You can’t control it you just watch the piñata explode and see who dives for the candy. Watch out for Esteban, we may have another podium surprise.