I will keep pushing and keep believing and keep smiling

Esteban Chaves is disappointed with his performance so far in the Vuelta, but won’t give up

August 27, 2022

Esteban Chaves had hoped for more from the first week of the Vuelta.

This summer, he found his place in our team and rode to some great results. At the Dauphiné, Mont Ventoux Challenge, and Tour of Norway, he was climbing with the best. Esteban felt like he had finally found the rhythm that has carried him to grand tour stage victories and a win at Il Lombardia. He trained hard for the Vuelta. Esteban couldn’t wait for this race.

“I put a lot of effort into coming here,” he says. “In the middle of the season, everything was looking really good, and I was really excited for the Vuelta. It was like everything was out of the way, and I was on a highway, but these last few days I suffered.”

Esteban struggled to find his wings when the Vuelta hit the Basque Country and Picos de Europa. He has pushed on, but been off the pace when the best riders in the race have attacked on the climbs. His GC chances are gone. That hurts.

“It’s not just physical,” he says. “Mentally, it’s disappointing. I have been in these situations before, and I know how it is, but it still hurts. I feel like I let down the team.”

"It hurts, but it is part of being a professional athlete.”

- Esteban Chaves

Esteban doesn’t just race for himself.

“When you are a professional athlete, it is not just about you,” he says. “It is about all of the people around you who work for this—my family, my wife, the whole team. Everyone is involved and gives 100%, so it is disappointing. It hurts, but it is part of being a professional athlete.”

Esteban won’t give up. And he is not going to start questioning why he has not been at his best just yet.

“Right now, it doesn’t matter,” he says. “It is what it is. It is the card we have. What I have learned from this is that we have to keep going, keep working. We can’t change anything about the form. We need to be focused and recover well, eat well, and stay calm. For sure, tomorrow will be a super hard day, but I hope that after Sunday, Monday rest, and then the time trial, my body will have a little bit of time to recover. In sport, change can just change in one day.”

Esteban still believes that his full strength could come back to his legs and he’ll get a chance to fly at this Vuelta. He will keep pressing as hard as he can on the pedals.

“I really want to pay the team back,” he says. “I see how hard everyone works. Everyone gives 100%. For my part, I will keep pushing and keep believing and keep smiling.”

Keep smiling, Esteban. When your moment comes, your whole team will be cheering when you attack.

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