PEKAN, Malaysia (VN) – It’s never easy being in a team chock-a-block full of stars, but that’s the position Chris Butler found himself in the past two years at BMC Racing.
However he tells VeloNews it didn’t do him any harm, because it probably wouldn’t have led to the role he now finds himself in as one of a number of co-leaders of the China-based team, Champion System.
Having conceded 3’21 to Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) in the Tour de Langkawi’s opening time trial in Putrajaya, the 24-year-old from Greenville (who spent the past winter training with a certain George Hincapie) had plenty of time to make up. But on the sixth stage to Genting Highlands make up time he did, with a top-10 finish on the stage skyrocketing him up the ladder to 11th place overall where he currently stands, 5’09 behind race leader José Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli).
The flyweight South Carolinian accepts he needs to work on the race against the clock if he’s to transmogrify into a bona fide tour rider. Should he make the necessary improvements but not at the expense of his uphill prowess, he could be a formidable stage race force in years to come.
Check out more VeloNews.com exclusive interviews and rider diaries from the Tour de Langkawi
Realizing life in advertising was nothing like Mad Men and buoyed by the Olympic Games in his Australian hometown of Sydney, Anthony Tan turned his back on a lucrative copywriting career in 2000 in pursuit of something more cerebral. Combining wordsmithing with his experiences as an A-Grade club racer and an underwhelming season competing in Europe, a career as a cycling scribe beckoned… More than a dozen Grand Tours and countless Classics later, it’s where he still is today. He has been a contributor to VeloNews since 2006. In 2010, he won Cycling Australia’s media award for best story. Follow him on Twitter: @anthony_tan