Esteban Chaves – The Power of Determination & Belief
Rapha presents Life in the Peloton!
Esteban Chaves was the first Colombian to win a monument at the Tour of Lombardy in 2016, he’s a podium finisher and multiple stage winner in both the Giro and the Vuelta. Not only is he a hugely talented rider, but he’s an incredibly positive & inspiring guy.Off the bike, he runs the Esteban Chaves Foundation in Colombia, helping disadvantaged youth in his home country. After eight years at GreenEdge, in 2022 he’s made the big change to join my team EF Education-EasyPost, and I thought what better time to reunite with him (virtually) and chat about his incredible story into the World Tour, the highs and lows of his career to date & his outlook through it all.
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I first met Esteban when he joined Team GreenEdge in 2013. He was pretty much thrown into the deep end with our mostly Australian team – he was coming back from a serious injury and didn’t speak a word of English. But Esteban has an amazing character, as you’ll hear, and his big heart and friendly personality made him a really important part of that team right from the start.
Anyone who has seen Esteban’s emotional wins on TV will know that he is a real family guy, and he brings that feeling to any team that he is a part of. Esteban has a way of making everyone a part of his success and the happiness that comes with it. I raced alongside him at the 2016 VueltaEspaña where he won two stages, and that race remains a really special memory.
When we talked on the pod I could still feel that bond that we had as riders, and it was great to ask him about how he looks back at some of those pinch-me moments that came with his big wins. But also to hear about pushing through the tough moments like the 2016 Giro D’Italia when he came agonisingly close to winning a Grand Tour & his journey back from from illness and injury.
I’m happy to (sort of) be back on the same team together now at EF Education-EasyPost. It’s been a big change for Esteban to move to a new team after 8 years with GreenEdge. His journey into the World Tour had a bumpy start and I hear his incredible story of returning from a life changing injury & then entering the World Tour (despite hanging up on Neil Stephens & a contract offer when he called!), why it was time for a change & what it is like to be in a new environment for 2022.
Along with racing, Esteban does more than his fair share of giving back by running the Esteban Chaves Foundation which, as he explains, has transformed the lives of disadvantaged kids in Colombia.
He’s a hugely popular rider, both inside the peloton and out, and I know you’ll hear why in this episode. His positive attitude is infectious and he is a genuinely great guy to have a yarn with.
I hope you guys enjoy the chat and most of all his enthusiasm for cycling and life.
Stay tuned next week for our Talking Luft!
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The theme music for Life in the Peloton was composed by Pete Shelley, who was lead singer of the punk band Buzzcocks. It was commissioned by the production company behind Channel 4’s coverage of the Tour de France in the 1980s and was used as the theme music for the nightly highlights show. Pete died in December 2018. We were given permission by Pete’s widow and his manager to continue using the music for the theme tune to Life in the Peloton. To hear more about the music, listen to the Andre Greipel episode of Life in the Peloton.