Anuar Manan amongst seven Asian signings for Champion System Pro Cycling Team
by Shane Stokes/www.velonation.com
Anuar Manan, the Malaysian rider who is regarded as one of Asia’s top young sprinters, is one of several riders who have been confirmed as new signings for the Champion System team. The 25 year old rider became a national sporting hero in 2010 when he sprinted to a stage victory and beat Michael Matthews to win the points classification in the Tour de Langkawi.
Competing with the Terengganu Pro Asia Cycling Team this season, Manan picked up three UCI- ranked victories. He won stages in the 2.2-ranked Jelajah Malaysia and Tour de Brunei, then raced to stage five success in the 2.HC-classed Tour of Hainan in October. He’s now ready to step it up a level, and will have the chance to do so with the squad.
“He has been been largely responsible for the great growth in Malaysian cycling over the last half decade,” said the Champion System team in a statement released today. “He’ll step up to a larger stage with the international Champion System squad, but should add to his three professional victories in 2011 as he now finds a team of experienced riders around him.”
The Chinese-registered Pro Continental team has made a number of strong signings for next season, with Craig Lewis (HTC Highroad), Chris Butler (BMC Racing Team) and Will Clarke (Leopard Trek) all previously confirmed as heading to the Chinese squad for next season.
As on board is the seven time continental BMX champion Steven Wong, who is one of those announced by the team today for 2012 but who confirmed his contract earlier this month in a VeloNation interview. He said that after being successful in the world of BMX, he wanted a new challenge and road racing represented his next big goal.
He raced with the continental team of the same name in 2011, but next season’s Continental System squad is said to be a completely new project.
Five other Asian signings:
The other riders confirmed today include 2008 Olympian Kin San Wu, a Hong Kong rider who won the 2007 national championships, plus a second former Lampre stagiaire and national champion Xu Gang of China. He won a stage in this year’s Tour of Korea.
Three other Chinese riders will also line out next season. Jiao Pengda was the Tour of China’s top Asian rider this year, while Kun Jaing won the most aggressive rider jersey on a stage of the Tour of Beijing. Biao Liu is also coming on board and will, like the others, aim for a strong first season.
The team’s general manager Ed Beamon said that giving these riders a chance to shine on the world scene is one of the main targets. “This is what the team is all about,” he said. “We’re going to provide an opportunity for these guys to integrate into the world professional cycling arena and hope they can become inspiration for the aspiring riders in their countries and provinces.
“We’ve selected riders from a variety of regions and cultures and I expect we will all learn a great deal from each other. China is a huge and diverse country and with athletes from five different regions. In combination with our other Asian athletes and international roster we have a great opportunity to play a role in the growth of the sport there.”