Champion System
May, 19 2013   Bookmark and Share
Beyer and Butler Help Ignite Queen Stage at California
Mt. Diablo, Cali. - Champion System Pro Cycling Team's Chris Butler was part of a 10-man breakaway for nearly 125 kilometers Saturday while teammate Chad Beyer made a dynamic attack on the final climb on the penultimate stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said the plan was for Butler to join a break on the first climb, hoping it would feature some climbers and stay away until the finish of the 146.5-km stage that featured more than 3,165 meters in elevation gain before a summit finish at Mt. Diablo.

Stage 1 winner Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM Procycling Team) attacked on the slopes of the Morgan Territory climb eight kilometers into the race and Butler and the others gave chase. The groups merged 33 km in and built a lead of four minutes before splintering at the base of Mt. Diablo.

"It was good to be aggressive because most of the races I do, I have to focus on the GC (general classification)," Butler said. "It was good to be in the break for once."

"Butler had a great ride," Beamon said. "He was pacing and held something back for Mt. Diablo, but unfortunately it came back together."

Beamon said he told his riders if they felt solid at the base of the climb, then they should go early.

As the front group fractured, Champion System took control of the peloton. From this group, Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) attacked and Beyer, along with king of the mountains leader Carter Jones (Bissell Pro Cycling), grabbed his wheel. Beyer attacked this group and quickly bridged up to Butler. Despite their best efforts, the duo was caught by the peloton with less than six kilometers to go.

"The idea was for Beyer to take an early shot and leapfrog up to Butler," Beamon said. "Then maybe the two of them could do something. That was what we planned and that was what they did. I'm really happy with the way they rode."

"I followed a Garmin rider and when he started to fade, I attacked and bridged up to the rest of the breakaway," Beyer said. "I tried to stick it to the line, but that didn't happen. I'm happy with the effort I put in, but I would have liked to been top five on the stage."

Janier Acevedo (Jamis Hagens-Berman), winner of Stage 2 and the former race leader, attacked inside the final three kilometers. Leopold König (Team NetApp-Endura) bridged up to Acevedo, attacked again, and soloed to the win. Current race leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) finished third to protect his overall lead.

Beyer and Butler finished together in 27th and 28th, respectively, 2:17 behind König. Beyer is Champion System's best-placed rider overall. The solid performance moved him into 21st, 16:23 behind van Garderen.

"Of the guys from the early break, I finished up there as one of the highest," Butler said. "If we could have raced that climb fully without the peloton on us, maybe we could have gotten a result."

Sunday's 130.6 km final stage begins in San Francisco and crosses the Golden Gate Bridge before finishing in Santa Rosa.

Beamon said he is optimistic the Champion System team can make an impact on the final stage and is looking to Bobbie Traksel - winner of the most aggressive jersey at the Tour of Oman and third on a stage at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen - for a result.

"We've been getting better at the finishes," Beamon said. "Bobbie rode the best today as he has been riding all week, so I feel like the guys actually have gotten stronger as the week has gone on."