Hong Kong, SAR - The Champion System Pro Cycling Team will count three Chinese riders among its roster for the Tour of Beijing, but new Taiwanese national road and time trial champion Chun Kai Feng will remain at home under pressure from his national federation, Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said.
"We were looking forward to having Kai Feng wear his new Taiwan national champion jersey for the first time in Beijing, but the Taiwan Federation has banned his participation and threatened to bar him from any future national team competitions if he joins the team in China's premier event," Beamon said. "I am both saddened and sickened by the provincial pettiness the Taiwan Cycling Federation has displayed. Our goal as a team has always been to provide the greatest opportunity for our athletes, and especially to give our Asian cyclists the chance to challenge themselves and push their limits in international competition."
Replacing Kai Feng will be Ryota Nishizono, the 2012 Japanese time trial champion. He will be joined by Chinese riders Gang Xu, Pengda Jiao and Biao Liu, Korean Chun Jae Jang, Irish national road champion Matt Brammeier and Americans Chad Beyer and Chris Butler. The five-day Tour of Beijing begins Oct. 11.
Former Chinese national road race champion Xu said he has focused his late-season training on this race because a strong performance is so vital.
"In terms of the importance, no doubt Tour of Beijing is one of the most important races in my season," Xu said. "I have prepared very seriously for this race. I will be there to protect our general classification riders and to ensure the best positions for them on the mountain stages.
Beamon said he will look to Butler as the team's overall leader in the 836-kilometer race that will include Beijing's mountain terrain and feature key tourist attractions such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Bird's Nest.
"Chris Butler had a solid performance in last year's event," Beamon said. "With what appears to be even more challenging parcours, he will be focused on a strong general classification performance."
Butler said he is eager to race against the best teams in the world around Beijing as one of the final races of the season.
"The course is perfect for me, and there are way too many reasons why I am extremely motivated to get results at this race," Butler said. "Deep down, I think every guy really enjoys the exotic experience of the race even though it is far away and at the end of the season."
Champion System Pro Cycling Team Roster Tour of Beijing (Oct. 11-15):
Chad Beyer (USA), Matt Brammeier (IRL), Chris Butler (USA), Chun Jae Jang (KOR), Pengda Jiao (CHN), Biao Liu (CHN), Ryota Nishizono (JPN), Gang Xu (CHN).