Champion System’s Wurf Second Overall At Qinghai Lake
Cameron Wurf of the Champion System Pro Cycling Team finished second overall at the Tour of Qinghai Lake Thursday to score the best result in a stage race for Asia's first pro continental team.
Wurf earned his spot on the podium in dramatic fashion, winning the final time bonus sprint of the 13-day race to finish behind race winner Hossein Alizadeh (Tabriz Petrochemical Team), who held the lead for 11 straight days, and ahead of Giovanny Manuel Baez (EPM-UNE). Luka Mezgec (Sava) won the last stage.
"I was a bit nervous about my chances in the sprints today," Wurf said, "but the guys have done such a great job of taking care of me all week. They had complete confidence in our chances, so of course I had to give it a go. My teammates were unbelievable today and those sprint laps were faster than the finale. I'm just really happy I could reward their efforts with a good placing."
In what was considered a "home" race for Champion System, the team got all seven of its riders to the finish line in Lanzhou, China, while earning top 10 finishes from Aaron Kemps (seventh on Stage 1 and eighth on Stage 11), Pengda Jiao (fourth on Stage 3), Kun Jiang (10th on Stage 10) and Wurf (eighth on Stage 3).
Wurf's result was his best since a runner-up finish in the prologue of the Tour of Japan in May and his top overall placing at a stage race since a fifth at the Tour of Turkey last year. Wurf moved into third overall on Stage 4, stayed there through Stage 7, slipped to fourth after Stage 8, then climbed back into third on Stage 10.
The battle to get the Australian back on the podium showed the tenacity of the team, Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said.
"This was one of the biggest and most important races in Asia, and there was a lot of pressure on the guys,” Beamon said. “Our first priority and goal for 2012 was to build a team, and I think these guys showed this week that they have what it takes.”