Craig Lewis says he chose Champion System over offers from bigger teams
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Craig Lewis says he chose Champion System over offers from bigger teams

by VeloNation Press at 8:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
American rider believes in future potential of his new squad

Craig LewisSeveral days after it was announced that he is joining the new Champion System team for 2012, Craig Lewis has said that he chose the squad over several higher-ranked options due to the possibilities he believes he will have there.

“To set a few things straight: I by no means settled for Champion System. In fact, I signed very early as I saw the potential,” he told NBCSports. “I was still in talks with numerous teams at every level of the sport, including within the WorldTour, and I’d like to think that I chose Champion System just as they had chosen me.”

Lewis explained why he saw it as a more attractive prospect than going for an established, big-name setup. “The new team gives me a great deal of freedom to select my program throughout the year and set goals that actually involve winning races. It is all new to me and filled with uncertainties, but I haven’t really gotten much enjoyment out of the certain things in life. It is the challenges, the setbacks and the comebacks that give me the sense of fulfilment I am looking for.”

The American rider was initially left without a ride for 2012 after his HTC Highroad team said that it was stopping at the end of the year. His situation was compounded by the fractured femur he suffered in the Giro d’Italia, which sidelined him from racing for several months and thus prevented him from racking up the sort of results that would have reminded teams of his ability.

Also named to the roster this week is fellow American Chris Butler, who moves across to the squad from the BMC Racing Team. According to directeur sportif Ed Beamon, it was important to have some American riders as part of the Asian-sponsored setup. He believes he’s now got two promising signatures.

“I'm very happy we were able to secure two incredibly talented and internationally experienced young guys,” he stated.

Lewis has ridden the Giro d’Italia twice during his four years with HTC Highroad. While this year’s race ended badly for him due to his crash, he did strong work for his team-mates. His debut last year saw him go close to a stage victory, and he will aim to return to that sort of form next season.


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