The Champion System Pro Cycling Team relied on teamwork to hold its place with a motivated field on Monday's queen stage at the Tour de Langkawi, as Adiq Othman remained the best-placed Malaysian rider for the third consecutive day.
The 110.3-kilometer race saw a lone breakaway from Travis Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) that was caught 20 km from the finish. The final climb of Genting Highlands - with an average grade of 5.5 percent and ramps as steep as 12 percent - became a war of attrition, shredding the peloton.
Champion System's Chris Butler and Chad Beyer were in the front group but could not follow the leaders when the pace increased. Five kilometers from the finish, Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) attacked from a select group and only Julian Arrendondo (Team Nippo-De Rosa) could respond. Inside the final two kilometers, Arrendondo launched his own attack and soloed to win by nearly half a minute, moving him into the race lead.
Butler finished 22nd on the stage, 5:23 behind. He remains Champion System's best-placed rider overall at 8:31 behind. Othman was 32nd, 8:21 back, while Beyer finished 49th, 11:13 behind.
"I was definitely hoping for a better result," Butler said. "The team is riding well, which should pay dividends later in the season. It just seems to take me a stage race every year to kick-start the engine."
Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said the entire team rode well together on the challenging stage and perfectly positioned the American climbers at the base of the final mountain.
"When the field exploded, the guys were where they needed to be and had good position in the front group," Beamon said. "Butler was able to ride through some dropped riders, but with nearly 20 guys in the front group, he could not stay with the leaders."
In his home country's race, Othman remains the best Malaysian racer in 33rd overall, 12:15 behind.
With the general classification no longer in reach, Beamon said the team's new goal is to go for stage wins.
Tuesday's stage of the 10-day race is the longest stage at 218 km. It features three categorized climbs and three intermediate sprints.