Orica sports director praises effort, admits to 'average' result
Orica-Scott wraps a winless Vuelta with Magnus Cort sixth on Stage 21 and Esteban Chaves just outside final general classification top 10…
Australian WorldTour team Orica-Scott may not have secured a single win at the 72nd edition of La Vuelta a España, but it wasn’t through a lack of trying from the eight remaining riders of the nine-man team.
Sunday’s final 117.6-kilometre stage from Arroyomolinos to Madrid was no different.
“Today was a continuation of the team spirit this Vuelta of attacking and going for everything,” said Orica sport director Neil Stephens. “We wanted to walk away from La Vuelta knowing we have given it our best — win, lose or draw.
“The boys worked well and Sam Bewley was with Magnus into the final corner. Magnus was doing well, he never would have won the stage, but he got a bit of a hook at the finish and finished outside the top five.”
This fact does not go unnoticed with Stephens.
“We came here with three potential general classification leaders and some pretty high expectations and we have to be realistic, we haven’t fulfilled them,” he said.
“When you look at our success here at the Tour of Spain over the past two years, as an ‘average’ we can be happy, but this year it wasn’t to be.
“We definitely can’t question the boy’s work ethic or commitment, we tried early for GC and lost some time being aggressive and since then have been in breakaways trying to get a stage win. It hasn’t been through a lack of effort.”
Chaves, who finished 62nd on GC at the Tour de France in July, ended the Vuelta 11th overall at 16 minutes 46 seconds behind the red jersey — a far cry from his second and third place finishes at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta last year respectively.