Teams don’t tend to spend too much time paying tribute to riders that are leaving at season’s end. They might post a photo on Instagram, thanking the rider for their service, but generally, that’s about it. They don’t tend to make a touching highlights video for the departing rider, and send them on their way with genuine fondness.
But on Tuesday, that’s exactly what Team BikeExchange did for Colombian star Esteban Chaves. The 31-year-old is off to EF Education Nippo in 2022 after eight years with the GreenEdge setup.
Chaves joined the Australian team back in 2014, a year after suffering serious injuries in a crash during a race in Italy. For parts of 2013 it looked like Chaves’ career might be over. But in joining Orica-GreenEdge, Chaves didn’t just make a return to racing; he also joined the WorldTour ranks for the first time, became one of Colombia’s most successful cyclists, and also one of the most-loved riders in the entire pro peloton.
Among Chaves’ career highlights with GreenEdge: victory at Il Lombardia in 2016 (the first Colombian to win a Monument), three stage wins at the Giro d’Italia, two stage wins at the Vuelta a España, second overall at the Giro in 2016, and third overall at the Vuelta in 2016.
Chaves leaves BikeExchange with many good memories. Clearly the team has many good memories too, judging by the video it pulled together.