All smiles as Esteban Chaves confirms TDU start

24 November 2016

Hon Leon Bignell MP
Minister for Tourism

Australian pro cycling team ORICA-BikeExchange has confirmed Esteban Chaves - the Colombian loved for his trademark grin - will join the peloton at the Santos Tour Down Under for the first time.

The 26-year-old has had an outstanding 2016 season, coming second at the Giro d’Italia and third at the Vuelta a Espana as well as showing his credentials in one-day races.

Chaves is the second rider to be confirmed for the 2017 start list, behind current UCI World Road and European Champion Peter Sagan who will compete at the race with new team Bora-Hansgrohe.

This year the TDU won the prestigious title of Best Sporting Event at the Australian Event Awards and this contributed to South Australia being named the Best Events State for the second year in a row.

The State Government has invested $70 million in additional tourism funding to market South Australia nationally and internationally and attract major events. This is in addition to the $6 million we invested specifically in the TDU.

The Santos Tour Down Under is the biggest cycling race outside of Europe. The 2017 Santos Tour Down Under will be held from 14 - 22 January. The 2017 Santos Women’s Tour will be held from 14 - 17 January.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell
Chaves has had a phenomenal 2016 season. He finished second in May’s Giro d’Italia - winning the mountainous queen stage - before narrowly losing out to Vincenzo Nibali on the penultimate day.

He is a force to be reckoned with and today’s news is another exciting chapter in the lead up to the biggest cycling race outside of Europe.

In September, we announced current UCI World Road Champion Peter Sagan would also be competing in the TDU – his only Australian event this summer.

With both Sagan and Chaves locked in and ready to race, the excitement for the TDU is really gaining momentum.

Quotes attributable to Esteban Chaves, ORICA-BikeExchange
I am really excited to go back to Australia. I want to see every single fan that supports me, but I want to see them properly, so we chose to start the season in the Australian summer for this reason.

Everyone says it’s the best race in the year. They say the Tour Down Under is super, super good, a great race for me, that the fans are super close with the team and I will enjoy.

It’s not only the guys from our team that say this, it’s also the guys from other teams and other nationalities that told me that so it made me more excited.

Quotes attributable to Mike Turtur, Race Director, Santos Tour Down Under

We are thrilled to welcome Esteban Chaves to the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under start line for the first time. Chaves has had a phenomenal 2016 season, finishing second at the Giro d’Italia, third at the Vuelta a Espana and taking overall honours at the Tour of Lombardia.

We look forward to seeing what he will do on the road here in South Australia, and expect a strong contingent of the Aussie fans he has amassed during his time with ORICA-BikeExchange to be here cheering roadside.

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