Road

Chaves still dreams of Tour success

Colombian's schedule for the season is still yet to be confirmed, but that's not stopping him from yearning after a yellow jersey.

While some Colombian cyclists have special permission to train outside, Mitchelton-Scott rider Esteban Chaves continues to train virtually in Bogotá. But he hopes that starting next week he will finally be authorized to train on the roads himself, something he has not done in months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in an interview with Deportes W Radio, he insists that he has yet to really consider what his 2020 race calendar might finally look like and he does not know the races in which he will enter. He also prefers to be cautious with what may happen with the coronavirus.

“We do not know yet what will happen, it is too early to focus objectives, we must see how this is evolving,” Chaves said. “The UCI can set the calendar but for it to be executed depends on the governments of each country.”

And Colombian riders, in particular, could have difficulty even returning to Europe as Colombian president Iván Duque extended the nation’s state of emergency on Thursday and announced that the country’s borders would remain closed through August 31, hence stopping all flights leaving the country until after the scheduled start of the Tour de France on August, 29.

But“El Chavito,” who has a contract with Mitchelton-Scott until December 2021, still dreams of following in the footsteps of his countryman Egan Bernal and winning the Tour de France one day. “My dream at some point is to win the Tour, I hope to achieve it,” he said. “I have always had a lot of setbacks, but they have made me stronger.”

But he does not see Bernal as the only Colombian capable of winning the great French race and in addition to his own hopes, he also believes that perennial challenger Nairo Quintana could still well win the Tour. “Somebody who twice finished second in the Tour obviously has the possibility of winning it,” Chaves said. And certainly after Quintana’s stellar 2020 debut with his new French Arkéa-Samsic team, few would argue.

Meanwhile, the 30-year-old admits that he has followed the unfolding saga around a potential mid-season transfer of four-time Tour winner Chris Froome closely. “I like that there is that type of gossip. They give us something to talk about in cycling,” he said with a laugh. But he remained skeptical that such a situation would actually play out this year.

That said, Chavez did not hide his admiration for the British standout and even said that he hoped the two could team up at some point. “Froome is a very simple and humble person. At some point in my career it would be nice to share a team with him.”

Chaves is under contract with Mitchelton-Scott through 2021 and even if Froome remains on Ineos this year, his contract expires at the end of 2020. If the Australian team survives the coronavirus crisis intact, they could well be an interesting fit for Froome.