Caleb Ewan is the latest excuse for Esteban Chaves to smile
The ferociously happy Esteban Chaves lost the overall lead on stage five of the Vuelta after being caught the wrong side of a split in the bunch. How did he feel about that? “I’m very, very happy,” he said. And he looked it too.
Chaves was mainly happy because his team-mate won. That was his story anyway. You rather suspect that he’s relentlessly happy regardless of real world events, but we’ll take him at his word on this occasion. Australian Caleb Ewan carried on sprinting when everyone else was flagging and took his first Grand Tour victory at the age of just 21.
Is this the start of a major career? Hard to say for definite. He’s certainly highly rated, but this was an unusual finish up a long drag that was somewhere between false flat and actual hill. Ewan’s small, just 1m65 (5ft5ins), and so he’s a great deal lighter than the increasingly hefty-looking Peter Sagan, to give just one example. Maybe that was the difference on this occasion.
The new race leader isn’t small though. Tom Dumoulin will have his work cut out to keep the red jersey on stage six which, the Vuelta being the Vuelta, features an uphill finish.