San Jose, Cali. - The Champion System Pro Cycling Team looked to minimize losses during a challenging, uphill time trial Friday at the Amgen Tour of California.
"We knew it was not going to be our strong suit," Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said. "We didn't have high expectations for today and without a serious GC (general classification) motivator, we are really looking toward Saturday and Sunday."
Riders faced strong headwinds along much of the 31.6-kilometer course that ended with a nearly three-kilometer climb, featuring an average gradient of 10 percent. Champion System's Chris Butler had the 13th best time on the climb, but technical problems caused him to miss his start time, Beamon said.
Beamon said the terrain of Saturday's stage suits American climbers Butler and Chad Beyer, who are hoping to move up the general classification.
"We haven't fully decided how we aggressive we will be," he said, "but certainly the climbers will be there. I believe Butler could have a good climb. It is an entirely different climb than the second stage, so I am optimistic that Chad can perform well."
The 146.5-km race begins in Livermore and features more than 3,165 meters in elevation gain before the summit finish at Mt. Diablo.
Beyer remains the team's highest placed overall rider in 24th, 14:18 behind race leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team).
In the time trial, Champion System's Gregor Gazvoda finished as the team's best-placed rider in 51st, 5:06 behind. Already the race leader, van Garderen extended his advantage over Michael Rogers (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and the rest of the field by winning the stage in 48:52.