Team Colombia bringing its best climbers to USA Pro Challenge
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Team Colombia bringing its best climbers to USA Pro Challenge

by Kyle Moore at 2:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Butler dreaming of top ten for Champion System

Edwin AvilaThe busiest racing month of the calendar has been just as hectic for the Colombia professional cycling team, having put up fronts in the Tours of Poland, Burgos, and the Tour de l’Ain. The team has both its victories this month as well, with Leonardo Duque posting a sprinting triumph in the Tour de l’Ain, and Darwin Atapuma climbing to a stage victory in the Tour of Poland.

In just a short while, Colombia will begin its campaign in the USA Pro Challenge, and the squad of climbers has brought some of its best to take on the Rocky Mountains.

Atapuma is likely to be the protected rider. Along with his win in Poland, the 25-year-old has taken 7th in the Presidential Tour of Turkey and 18th in the Giro d’Italia.

Colombia and team director Claudio Corti were disheartened by race tactics in the Tour of Poland that worked against the ambitions of Atapuma, but Colombia could find a friendlier peloton in Colorado, with many young Americans adopting similarly aggressive tactics in one of their biggest home races.

Fabio Duarte also flies the Colombian flag in Colorado. After performing well in the Giro d’Italia, Duarte didn’t race again until the Tour of Poland, and struggled to find his form there, as well as in the Vuelta a Burgos. Other featured climbers are Jarlinson Pantano and Robinson Chalapud. Team director in Colorado is Oscar Pellicioli, who also pointed to Edwin Avila (pictured) for a possible result.

“We are travelling to Colorado with a strong and motivated team, looking to stretch our good momentum,” Pellicioli stated. “Atapuma and Chalapud provided some strong performances, and Avila really impressed me at the Vuelta a Burgos, holding his own even on the climbs. We will try to be on the frontline through the whole week, and there’s the right terrain to do that.”

Coming off the Tour of Utah, Champion System sends a squad to the USA Pro Challenge more than acquainted with climbing in the western United States. Chris Butler, Craig Lewis, and Chad Beyer are the Americans on the roster, while Costa Rican Gregory Obando Brenes performed well on Utah’s climbs.

Butler was best placed for Champion System in Utah, finishing 12th overall, and the American said that his current condition is excellent. With a course in Colorado that suits him even a little better, he is allowing himself to dream about a top ten finish.

"My body responds well to racing and I am definitely at another level after Utah," Butler said. "The slightly uphill time trial in place of a flat city time trial and a familiar course around Beaver Creek may actually bode better for me this year. If I could get a top 10, that would be fantastic."

Lewis wore the most aggressive rider jersey for a day in Utah, and the viewing public should expect to see the former HTC-Highroad rider on the move again.

"Lewis will be motivated to perform well in his adopted home state," Champion System director Ed Beamon said. "I expect him to rise to the occasion."

As far as Brenes, Beamon said, "Brenes has shown good form and I think Colorado will suit him well. I expect to see him and Beyer contesting stages."

Colombia for the USA Pro Challenge:
Darwin Atapuma, Edwin Avila, Julio Camacho, Robinson Chalapud, Fabio Duarte, Jarlinson Pantano, Juan Pablo Suarez

Champion System for the USA Pro Challenge:
Chad Beyer, Gang Xu, Gregory Obando Brenes, Chris Butler, Craig Lewis, Ryota Nishizono, Chun Kai Feng, Fu Shiu Cheung


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