After more than 2,000 miles and weeks of racing, Colombia’s Esteban Chaves finished the 99th annual Giro d’Italia on Sunday less than a minute behind champion Vincenzo Nibali, of Italy.
Chaves performed well throughout the three-week bicycle race, briefly taking first place and the Giro’s famous pink jacket in Friday’s stage. But it wasn’t quite enough to beat Nibali, who won the race for the second time.
Three Colombians, including Chaves, finished in the top 10 places. Rigoberto Urán finished seventh and Darwin Atapuma took ninth place.
“I learned that dreams come true. If you never give up and keep up hard work, your dreams can come true,” said Chaves, who is from Bogotá, after finishing on Sunday. “That’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
Thousands of Colombians, many of whom had been following the race intently given the impressive performance of their compatriots, were quick to congratulate Chaves via social media on his second place finish.
“Congratulations to our new Bogotano champion Esteban Chaves for his formidable performance in the Giro d’Italia,” said Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa on Sunday.
Colombia’s national army also gave a shout out to Chaves from its official Twitter account.
“Our heros today say ‘Grande Chavito’ for our sub-champion in the Giro d’Italia.”