Champion System's Brenes Sixth Overall in Colorado
Vail, Colo. - The Champion System Pro Cycling Team will look to protect stagiaire Gregory Brenes's top 10 position heading into the last two stages of the USA Pro Challenge.
General Manager Ed Beamon said he continues to be pleased with Brenes, who is proving he can climb with some of the best riders in the world in the Colorado race. The 25-year-old Costa Rican is sixth overall, 3:25 out of the lead. He finished fifth on Thursday's Stage 4 queen stage, a 165.6-km race that featured five categorized climbs. In Friday's Stage 5 individual time trial in Vail, he was 15th, 1:48 behind the winning time of race leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team).
"I'm pretty proud of him; he has shown a lot of guts," Beamon said. "For a stagiaire riding a course this demanding against a field this professional, it really shows his heart."
Brenes, who scored a pair of top 10 stage finishes at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah earlier this month, said riding against renowned WorldTour riders - including this year's Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky Procycling) - has been a learning experience.
"The bike is my passion," Brenes said. "Now I can say I can climb with these guys."
Asia's only pro continental team started the race off with a bang Monday when Craig Lewis attacked at the start of Stage 1 and was joined by two others. He was only caught with 10 kilometers remaining and earned the FirstBank most courageous rider jersey.
The final two stages consist of a 185.4-km race from Loveland to Fort Collins that climbs Devil's Gulch and Sunday's 116.5-km circuit race around downtown Denver.
"Obviously we'd like to win a stage," Beamon said. "Our number 1 goal is to keep Gregory where he's at. If an opportunity presents itself to move up, we'll do that."