EF Pro Cycling is excited to finalize our roster for the 2021 season with Simon…
We are excited to announce the newest addition to our roster for the 2022 season – Colombian rider Esteban Chaves.
Chaves joins EF Education–NIPPO with an illustrious palmares to back him up. A two-time grand tour podium finisher and Monument winner, Chaves has been at the top of the sport of cycling ever since he entered the WorldTour in 2014, with his signature smile there every step of the way.
“I wanted to join the EF Pro Cycling for several reasons. First of all, from the outside you can see it is like a big family where everyone is driven by the passion of cycling. Also, one of the directors is a rider I really admired when I started riding my bike – Juanma Garate – and finally I would love to have Colombian teammates. But most importantly, the cycling kit is really cool, don’t you think?” says Chaves lightheartedly.
Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters is also looking forward to seeing Chaves pull on his pink jersey. “It’s our view that Esteban will have a great next few years,” he explains. “He’s overcome his health issues and showed this year he has consistency. We feel that he’s poised to break out and turn that consistency into wins. He’ll fit right into the nature of our team, which places human qualities of any rider, at the top of the list.”
Born and raised in Bogotá, Chaves started riding his bike at the age of 14 when his dad signed him up for a duathlon on a borrowed bike. He quickly fell in love with the sport and after purchasing his first bike not long after that, he says “the rest is history.” Chaves quickly climbed the developmental ranks of cycling and would go on to win the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir in 2011 often regarded as the U23 Tour de France and got his first WorldTour contract soon thereafter.
“I love the feeling of freedom when riding your bike and the pride of getting to the top of the mountain or finishing a race,” says Chaves. “Also, I love that it is a sport that you can practice with friends and family. Most of all, I really like the power of cycling as a tool to show that dreams come true if you work hard.”
Now 31, Chaves is looking forward to the chance to rediscover the sport of cycling in a new environment.
“I’m excited about everything! New bike, new kit, new teammates, new helmet, new races, new challenges. I feel like a neo pro again,” he jokes.
"I really like the power of cycling as a tool to show that dreams come true if you work hard."
For Chaves, the journey to cycling’s highest level hasn’t been a smooth one. His career, like that of so many cyclists, has been riddled with injuries and crashes. Before signing his first WorldTour contract, he had to battle back from a career-threatening crash at age 22. Then in 2018, he was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus and chronic sinusitis – an illness that would’ve made many riders consider the future of their pro careers.
“My biggest strength is my warrior spirit,” says Chaves. “I don’t give up and I fight till the end.”
This year he’s shown off that fighting spirit and took a spectacular stage win at the Volta a Catalunya and continued to bring in some big results throughout the season with numerous top ten finishes in stage races and one day races proving to everyone once again that he could be there with the best on the world stage.
But for Chaves, his cycling career has always been about a lot more than collecting accolades and trophies. Around six years ago he launched an organization called FUN Chaves whose goal is to give children and youth in Colombia opportunities to make their dreams come true using the power of the bicycle.
“We began with a developmental cycling team, where we identified talented riders and supported them in their athletic and personal growth,” explains Chaves. “After that, we started to organize the yearly Clásica Esteban Chaves, a 4-stage race for U-16, Juniors and Women to encourage healthy competition in these categories. And finally, in 2018 we created our medical program where we fund orthopedic surgeries and treatment for children to improve their quality of life.”
We can’t wait to see him pull on his pink jersey next season. Welcome to the team, Esteban!