Lewis and Butler join Champion System Pro Cycling Team
Written by Cyclingnewsasia.com
Photo credit: Socialregister.co.uk
China's first professional cycling team continues to become more international with the signing of American riders Craig Lewis; 26 and Chris Butler; 23. Both riders bring a level of experience beyong their years with Champion System looking to build depth in their lineup.
Craig Lewis has been in the professional peloton for 7 years. Many readers may remember Lewis from his horrible, and near fatal crash in the 2004 Tour of Georgia while he was riding for the USA National Team. After recovering from the crash Lewis persevered, starting his professional career with the start up TIAA-Cref team in 2005 and then moved to Bob Stapleton's Team Columbia in 2008. He has been with the Highroad organization since, spending the last three years in the Pro Tour.
You could call Lewis an 'all-rounder' and loyal domestique. Lewis has supported the winning efforts of Mark Cavendish, George Hincapie, and Kim Kirchen to name a few. Lewis has also shown his own ability as a champion winning two USA National Championships as an under 23 rider, and securing his 1st Pro Tour victory in 2009's Tour of Romandie (stage 3, TTT).
Lewis has competed in two Giro d'Italias, and his experience should prove a valuable asset as the Champion System Team begins its mission to help develop Chinese and Asian based riders and groom them for success in the world peloton. Lewis will also have the chance to explore the role of team leader in many events for his new team, an opportunity he is particularly excited for.
Let's not forget Chris Butler. Only 23 years old, Butler also brings Pro Tour experience having just finished his second season with BMC. A standout cross country runner in High School, he got serious about cycling in college and is a former USA Collegiate National Champion. Butler is a gifted climber and has shown impressive results in mountainous events like the Tour of Austria and Tour of Utah this season.
"Adding a couple Americans to the roster was a goal from the beginning" said team manager Ed Beamon, "and I'm very happy we were able to secure two incredibly talented and internationally experienced young guys."
Champion System VP of Marketing Charlie Issendorf affirmed: "Champion System has been a big supporter of USA racing right from the beginning. The US is an important market for us and having two of America's brightest young talents representing the CS brand is a natural progression in our support of American competitive cycling."