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Chaves to start season at Colombian races

Chaves to start season on home turf at Colombian national championships and Tour Colombia as he looks to continue positive trajectory of 2019.

Esteban Chaves will start his season on home soil at the Colombian national championships and Tour Colombia.

The 29-year-old Colombian will line up at the early-season races looking to continue his positive trajectory from 2019, where he scored an emotional victory at the Giro d’Italia.

Chaves struggled through 2017 with injuries and sat out six months of 2018 as he recovered from Epstein-Barr virus. With two years disrupted after a breakout 2016 that propelled him to victory at Il Lombardia and scooped him second-place at the Giro and third place at the Vuelta a Espana, Chaves has a new sense of momentum.

“The feeling during training has been good and I want to start this year with some really good results and a good taste in the mouth,  especially as last year was without interruptions,” he said in a statement from his Mitchelton-Scott.

Rather than representing his Mitchelton-Scott team at the Tour Colombia, February 11-16, Chaves will be riding for the Colombian national team. The Australian outfit is not sending a team to the Colombian race, so Chaves will ride in the colors of his country before joining the team in Europe for the next block of racing.

Chaves will be looking to roll the encouraging signs from 2019 through to 2020. Kick-starting his season with his first appearance at his home stage race will inject added motivation.

“I’m really excited to start in Colombia,” he said. “It will be the first time I have represented the team in my country, I’ve never raced as professional here in Colombia, so to start the season in Colombia will be awesome.”

“It’s also my first time at the Tour of Colombia, and I’m pretty excited because this year the race will finish in my hometown and on my home training roads,” Chaves said. “I know all of the last two stages like the back of my hand, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Chaves will line up with some strong opposition at Tour Colombia, which boasts a high-elevation route and alternative start to the season from the Australian races. Grand tour winners and Ineos teammates Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz will also be on the startline, as will Julian Alaphilippe.

2019 champion Miguel Angel Lopez  is sitting out the race, and home hero Nairo Quintana will be racing in France with his new team Arkea Samsic.