Champion System's Jiao Best Chinese Rider at Tour of Beijing
Champion System Pro Cycling Team’s Pendga Jiao took home honors as the Best Chinese Rider at the Tour of Beijing.
Saturday’s 182.5-kilometer stage began at Changping Stadium and featured four categorized climbs including a Category 1 climb 30 km before the finish in Pinggu. Steve Cummings (BMC Racing Team) out-sprinted Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) after the two attacked on the final climb.
Chris Butler was Champion System's leader on the final overall classification, finishing the five-day stage race in 24th place, 3:31 behind overall race leader and defending champion, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Butler also finished fifth in the Best Young Rider classification.
With four Chinese riders in the race and being Asia’s first pro continental team, it was important for Champion System to have a solid showing at the biggest race on its home soil, General Manager Ed Beamon said. The Chinese riders themselves said they recognize their continued need to grow as a premier team, but said they were extremely appreciative of having the opportunity to race in front of their local fans.
“I'm very grateful that Champion System Pro Cycling Team was invited as a Chinese team to the Tour of Beijing,” Chinese national road champion Gang Xu said. “We need time to develop and grow. I hope they (our fans) can be understanding about this; I’d really love for our team to come back next year.”
“I really appreciate the whole experience of being here,” Jiao said. “I’m very happy with our performance.”
Beamon said he was proud of the team’s overall effort in the race that saw Craig Lewis initiate a breakaway on Stage 1, Butler ride with the lead group over the final four categorized climbs on Stage 3 and Clinton Avery finish 25th on Stage 4.
“The race was a real challenge and it was obvious that the teams were taking it very serious and that made it seriously competitive,” Beamon said. “I'm happy with the performance of the Chinese guys, especially Pengda, who was able to stay close to the front group each day.”