Esteban Chaves will make his debut at the Tour de France this July.
The confirmation comes as Orica-Scott reveal their Grand Tour plans for 2017, which will also see Adam and Simon Yates start the Giro d’Italia for the first time, and the trio of young climbers to combine together for the final Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana.
“Despite having three quality young riders to develop programs for, we have come up with a plan that the boys, and the team, are very excited about,” sport director Matt White said.
“They have each pleasantly surprised us with their results over the last year, but we have a long term plan and we are not getting ahead of ourselves. Our priority is still to continue their development at a speed that suits them individually.”
White said Chaves, who had a breakthrough 2016 and started his 2017 season with a second place at the Tour Down Under, has earned his right to lead the team in the world’s biggest race.
“Esteban has proved that he is ready, and he deserves this opportunity,” White said. “I think it’s pretty unrealistic to expect anyone to win their first Tour de France but physically, Esteban has shown he can ride general classification at Grand Tours and he can handle the stress involved.”
The Yates brothers will make their debut earlier in the year at the Giro d’Italia but more importantly, according to White, they will greatly benefit from the step up in load, courtesy of two Grand Tour starts in 2017.
“The plan for the Giro d’Italia is to go with a two-pronged attack with the Yates brothers riding for the general classification,” White said. “It’s a very special edition of the Giro and maybe the toughest last week of a Grand Tour I have ever seen. The boys are up to the challange and it looks to be the best field ever assembled.”
“People on the outside might think it’s a bit strange that we are not sending a lad that finished fourth last year back to the Tour de France. But it’s simple, we want to give the guys a bigger foundation for the future because that’s where their biggest potential lies.
“Their results have been impressive but we aren’t going to see the very best of them for a few years yet. Instead, we decided we will do two Grand Tours with them. The physical maturity and Grand Tour experience will be of great benefit for them both in the years to come.”
The three riders will come together for the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana, and if all goes to plan the team will once again support the Yates brothers for a result.
“We don’t know how Esteban will come out of the Tour,” White said. “He has done two Grand Tours in a year before but not back-to-back so we need to reassess after the Tour.”
“It will be the only Grand Tour this year that we will see them race all together and this is also an exciting prospect for us.”