Esteban Chaves wins the Colombian road national championship
"The team was incredible. This is a dream"
Esteban Chaves won the Colombian road race national championship today, claiming his first tricolor jersey.
The 33-year-old launched an attack with eight kilometers to go. Though his rivals tried, they never caught sight of him again, and Esteban soloed to the finish line.
Training went well over the winter for Esteban but he knew his competition in Bucaramanga would be fierce.
"At this time of the year, we are mostly all together, competing with each other, so it is more level,” Esteban said before the start. “People just take the bus for ten hours 100% just to see us. So this is pretty special, and competing for the jersey is a dream for everyone growing up, dreaming of wearing the Colombian jersey during the Tour de France for example or during the Giro d’Italia. The whole season with the Colombian jersey, that is like man, I am the man, I am the boss. It is like, ‘Look at me. I am from Colombia.’”
The 237-kilometer course consisted of nine laps around Bucaramanga and the route was lined with fans from start to finish.
Upon crossing the finish line, Esteban was humbled by the moment.
"The whole season with the Colombian jersey, that is like man, ‘Look at me. I am from Colombia.’”
“Wearing the national colors for a year is something I will never forget,” he said. “Winning here in Bucaramanga was spectacular, the people were crazy. I think today was the day most people shouted my name that I saw, that gave me that warmth that made me push until the very end. There are many people who made this possible: my family, my wife. Today somebody special came too, Dr. Sandoval, who, without his help, this wouldn’t have been possible. He saved my career.”
Esteban’s EF Education-EasyPost teammate Diego Camargo played a vital role in the race by sheltering Esteban and offering support. Praising Diego, Esteban said simply, “The team was incredible. This is a dream.”
He will return to his European base in the coming weeks for the road season. While he is bolstered by today’s win, he knows the season is long and looks forward to putting in the hard work.
“This is a day to enjoy and now we have to continue working, keep our feet on the ground. The season has just started and now we have to start from zero.”