Santa Barbara, Calif. - Champion System Pro Cycling Team's Chad Beyer featured in the break for the second consecutive day on Wednesday's Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California.
Immediately following the neutral start, a flurry of attacks arose, but it wasn't until Frank Kevin Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling) attacked that the peloton was willing to let a rider go. Beyer, Nathan Brown (Bontrager Cycling Team), Chris Baldwin (Bissell Pro Cycling), Marsh Cooper (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies) and James Stemper (5-hour Energy presented by Kenda) bridged up to make it a six-man escape.
"I saw those guys going and we didn't have anyone in there, so I just went," Beyer said. "I was tired from yesterday, but gave it what I had for the KOM (king of the mountain sprint). I just didn't have the legs to take it."
Beyer's group built a lead of more than three-and-a-half minutes on the 134.5-kilometer stage, which featured a total of 1,573 meters of climbing over Dennison Grade and Casitas Pass. The escapees splintered after the final climb and were caught inside the final 20 km as the race went over some rolling hills before heading down into Santa Barbara.
Descending into Santa Barbara, Champion System's Matt Brammeier tried to disrupt the anticipated field sprint by launching an attack near a tricky roundabout with 2.5 km to go. Despite quickly gaining a discernible gap and holding off the charging field, he was swept up inside the final kilometer.
"We kind-of planned the move last night," the Irish national road champion said. "I turned around coming out of the corner and I had a gap, so I decided to go for it."
Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) took the victory while the general classification remained unchanged with Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) in the leader's jersey for the third consecutive day. Chris Butler remains Champion System's best-placed rider in 19th, 4:09 behind. Beyer finished the stage in 88th, 1:31 behind Farrar.
Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said the plan had actually been to keep Beyer out of the break, because he was still exhausted from being in Stage 3's break.
"We didn't want to burn him up," Beamon said. "I think he reacted when a couple of the KOM guys went up the road and unfortunately he hurt himself a bit and wound up losing time in the finish."
Since the race began, riders have experienced sweltering heat. So the comfortable temperatures and welcoming ocean breezes Wednesday made for a nicer day. It was a pleasant 25.5 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit) at the start of the race.
Thursday's Stage 5 runs from Santa Barbara up to Avila Beach. The 186-km stage is designed for the sprinters, with only one categorized climb, which is featured approximately 20 km into the race, and then followed by three intermediate sprint sections before a downhill finish.