Many professional cyclists ended their season with the World Championships and have returned home for a well deserved break. BMC’s Chris Butler still has a couple more European races before he can pack his bags for Greenville, South Carolina.
Butler started his European campaign back in April at the Giro del Trentino. He returned home after Trentino for a short break before the Amgen Tour of California – his first major professional stage race for BMC. From here on the 21-year old has raced in a selection of stage races and one-day classics. As the season started to draw to an end he was again selected for the American national squad for the Tour de l’Avenir. Only riders 23-years or younger can participate in what is widely considered the “Tour de France” for riders in that age bracket. The American squad got off to a strong start with Taylor Phinney winning the opening prologue. However it was teammate Andrew Talansky who was battling for the top step on the final podium. At his side helping him in the mountains was Butler. Ultimately Talansky finished second overall and Butler an admirable 18th. Phinney, who will be Butler’s teammate next year on BMC, crashed hard in stage 2 but gutted it out for the rest of remaining stages to finish.
After France, Butler was back in his hometown of Greenville and riding support for his teammate and defending champion George Hincapie in the US Pro road race championships. From there it was the trip to U-23 Worlds in Australia. Butler was part of the squad that brought home the bronze medal in the road race. After Geelong it was back to his home base of Italy for his last three races of the season: Paris-Tours, Giro del Piemonte and Lombardy.
Paris-Tours is considered a Classic for the sprinters – not exactly the terrain the slightly built Butler excels in. However, Butler finished putting another notch in his classics belt.
Finally there were only two races separating him from returning home to Greenville.
“Today (Piemonte) was pretty tough. For the past two months I have done some of the top U23 races and U.S. nationals – but these races are definitely a step above. So it has been abrupt transition back to the big races.”
With just the Tour of Lombardy this Saturday, Butler knows that at a distance of 260 kilometers it is going to be a long day in the saddle.
“Lombardy is going to be an incredibly tough race. I want to help the team as much as I can, which will probably consist of pitching in the first part of the race until the leaders blow it apart.”
Chris’ teammate, Cadel Evans has shown good form going into Lombardy with a fine performance at the World Championships. Evans has ridden strong in the past editions of the “Race of the Falling Leaves” so look for Butler to be at the Australian’s side on those first climbs of the day.
Good luck Chris!
Follow Chris Butler on Twitter @cbutler88