Champion System Pro Cycling Team Earns Berths For Qatar, Oman
The Champion System Pro Cycling Team, Asia’s first and only pro continental team, has accepted invitations to participate in the Tours of Qatar and Oman.
Receiving an invitation to the two UCI 2.HC calendar races in Asia is significant, said Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon. The Tour of Qatar is Feb. 3-8 while the Tour of Oman is Feb. 11-16.
"Starting the season with an important ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) event is a great goal for the team, so of course we are very happy to receive these invitations,” Beamon said. “We appreciate the commitment Eddy Merckx and the race organization are making to Asian cycling. This is a great opportunity for our Asian guys to race against some of the best riders and best teams in the world.”
Beamon plans to field a diverse lineup – focusing heavily on the team’s Asian riders – to the two races. Asian riders selected include Chinese national champion Gang Xu, South Korean national champion Chan Jae Jang, former Malaysian national champion Adiq Othman, former Taiwanese national champion Chun Kai Feng, and Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman veteran Pengda Jiao.
Jiao said the two races were difficult for him last year and how he performs this time will be a good test of his progress."We will see how it goes,” he said.
“We have some new teammates on board this year. Racing with them in these two races is a great opportunity for the team to blend together as well. I am very glad that we got the invitation to attend. It is recognition for the team to be invited again this year and it offers us Asian riders opportunities to compete with some of the best riders in the world. And I believe we will have good performances this year."
Beamon said he chose riders known for their experience and leadership skills to round out the roster. Irish national champion Matthew Brammeier will be joined by Tour of Oman and Qatar veterans Bobbie Traksel and Matthias Friedemann. Brammeier and Traksel are newcomers to Champion System.
“Three of our most experienced European-based riders will help us guide our predominately Asian roster,” he said. “We'll be hunting stages in Qatar and looking for strong GC (general classification) performances in Oman.”
Champion System will hold its U.S. team presentation for sponsors and media Friday in Carson, Calif. Cyclists are invited to join the team on a ride Saturday in Agoura Hills, departing from the Sheraton Agoura Hills Hotel at 9 a.m.
Photo credit: Brian Hodes, VeloImages (www.veloimages.com)