Photo gallery: Champion System team training in China
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Photo gallery: Champion System team training in China

by Shane Stokes at 7:10 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Pro Continental squad building up prior to start of racing

Champion SystemIn China for a training camp and team launch, the Champion System riders and staff are currently planning what will be its first season as a Pro Continental team. The squad has already been confirmed as participating in the Tours of Qatar and Oman, getting a major thumbs up from Tour de France organisers ASO, who also run that race. The riders will also line out in the Tour de Langkawi, then target big races in Europe and elsewhere.

General manger Ed Beamon yesterday learned that the team had not been selected for RCS Sports’ events, namely the Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan Sanremo and Il Lombaria. However he’s unlikely to be too worried about that, as he’s said on several occasions that the team wants to build steadily in the years ahead. Being in year one of an initial five year project means that time is on its side.

All going to plan, the team will have UCI ProTeam status for the 2015 season, thus guaranteeing it a slot in the Tour de France and other Grand Tours.

In the following photos, the team prepares for the new season on Chinese roads, benefiting from good weather conditions in doing so. The riders also participation in some off-bike bonding exercises including – unusually – one involving giant paper dragons.

The squad features a large number of Asian riders, as might be expected, including seven-time Asian BMX Champion Steven Wong, Malaysian sprinter Anuar Manan and Chinese champion Xu Gang.

It also includes overseas competitors such as the Americans Craig Lewis (previously HTC Highroad) and Chris Butler (BMC Racing Team), the Australian Will Clarke (formerly Leopard Trek), quadruple Tour de France stage winner Jaan Kirspuu and Belgian sprinter Gorik Gardeyn.

Click one of the images below to access the full photo gallery:




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