Salt Lake City, Utah - The Champion System Pro Cycling Team says it is motivated to keep moving its riders up the general classification at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah despite suffering a few setbacks in the first three days of the race.
Stagiaire Gregory Brenes - fifth overall and only four seconds out of third place - has been one of the revelations of the race. Brought on to add climbing depth, the 25-year-old Costa Rican finished sixth on Thursday's Stage 3 that summited Mt. Nebo before plunging to the finish in Payson.
Seeing Brenes and Butler among the select group of 20 who were chasing the solo stage winner Thursday definitely bodes well for the final two stages, said Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon. Saturday's stage from Snowbasin Resort to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort features 3,234 meters of climbing while Sunday's race over Empire Pass starts and finishes in Park City and climbs 2,326 meters.
"I expected Brenes to have top 20 potential," Beamon said. "He was brought on to add some depth to our climbing and general classification potential. I think he can get a great result overall here and the guys are ready to support him. He and Butler can give us a good 1-2 punch as we look forward to those stages."
Brenes is 44 seconds off the lead of Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp), while Butler is also the same amount of time behind in 17th overall. Having two riders within 44 seconds of the lead has taken some of the sting away from Wednesday's Stage 2 that saw Beyer crash badly and stagiaire Fu Shiu Cheung withdraw at the feed zone.
Beamon said that he was surprised Beyer was able to keep riding after going down 45 kilometers into the 210.3 km stage.
"Chad really went down hard and for awhile we weren't sure if he'd be able to continue," Beamon said. "He showed how incredibly tough he is. His body took a beating, but fortunately, no serious injuries and I think he'll be able to help us as the race continues."
Beyer said even after getting on his replacement Fuji and getting his wounds cleaned by the doctor, he wasn't sure if he would be able to continue. But he forged on, and finished eighth on the stage.
"I don't think I've ever been so close to pulling out of a race," he said. "But I've put in a lot of training and didn't want to throw it away. So I decided to push through. I'm pretty much taking it day-by-day now. It was hard for me to get out of bed this morning (Friday) and some of my muscles just weren't working. The Snowbird and Park City stages are going to be tough, but I'm always up for the challenge as is the rest of the Champion System team."