by Laura Weislo/Cyclingnews.com
Photo credit: Tim de Waele/tdwsport.com
American Craig Lewis will join his new Champion System Pro Cycling Team at the Tour de Langkawi in February. The race will mark a comeback from a second surgery to correct a broken femur he sustained in the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
Lewis is just getting back to training after four weeks of rest following bone graft surgery on his femur, which had failed to heal completely following surgery in June.
It was a painful procedure that set him back to square one, but it was necessary for the 26-year-old to continue with his career as a professional cyclist - one that he isn't ready to give up on.
"There is a long road ahead to regain fitness and strength," Lewis told Cyclingnews, but said he is excited to get back into action in Langkawi.
"It's a great opportunity for me to build a base for the rest of the year while helping the team out in the sprints and setting our GC guys up in the mountains. It's a role I'm used to."
Passed over by the WorldTour teams following the demise of the HTC-Highroad squad, Lewis signed with the new Professional Continental Champion System team late this year, and is pleased with the support he has been given by manager Ed Beamon.
"I think have a good bit to offer the team and I hope I can help grow the program into something bigger than it already is. I know I'm only 26, but I've been there major setbacks and major successes in previous years, I'm eager to pass along that knowledge to others.
"I'm most excited to erase all of the bad memories I have from the Giro d'Italia. If I were to stop racing right now, I'd say that the Giro ruined my life and robbed me from enjoying it, so I'm looking to have fun again on the bike and see the better sides of the sport."
Lewis will join fellow American Chris Butler, Australian Aaron Kemps, Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu and Malasians Anuar Manan and Mohd Adiq Husainie Othman in Langkawi.
"I'm very excited to get over to Asia and see new parts of the world. For me, the travel and the experiences gained while on the road are the most exciting aspects of the sport. Obviously, I'm nervous about re-joining the peloton and dealing with all of those added risks. I've suffered enough, but I've proven to myself with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge that I'll be just fine once the racing begins."