Gardeyn to lead Champion System team in Belgium after Het Nieuwsblad invite
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gardeyn to lead Champion System team in Belgium after Het Nieuwsblad invite

by VeloNation Press at 2:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Cameron Wurf latest signing to Asian Pro Continental squad

Champion SystemFollowing on from important invites to the Tours of Qatar and Oman, the new ProContinental Champion System squad has received a boost with the news that it has also gained wildcard entry to the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

The squad will be led there by the 31 year old Belgian Gorik Gardeyn, who was seventh in the race in 2007 while part of the team, and twentieth the year before.

“It’s the opening weekend in Belgium and it's a really important race,” he said, motivated to be taking part in his new role as one of the Classics leaders. “I feel fantastic. I appreciate this role. Where there is the opportunity I will take it. Also I have no problem guiding the guys.”

Gardeyn was signed up after spending two years with the Vacansoleil team, and has been told by general manager Ed Beamon that he will have greater personal freedom with the team. He’s also been brought on to teach others about racing at a high level, with the Chinese and Malaysian members being particularly keen to learn from him.

They have less experience than some of the other riders on the team and recognise that he has clocked up many kilometres in tough one day events.

Beamon acknowledges that being invited to the 67th edition of the race, which was previously known as Het Volk, is a big thumbs up for the Chinese-based squad.

“We tried to build a team that would be strong in the Classics-style races,” he said. “The invitation shows a special respect for the Chinese athletes. Few non-Belgian Pro Continental teams do the race.”

The team was recently launched in Beijing and features a number of experienced riders. It had a boost this week when its rider Will Clarke won yesterday’s second stage of the Santos Tour Down Under while guesting with the UniSA – Australia team.

Apart from Clarke, the line-up also includes four-time Tour de France stage winner Jaan Kirsipuu, former UCI ProTeam riders Craig Lewis (ex HTC Highroad) and Chris Butler (BMC Racing Team), plus eight Asian riders including the seven-time continental BMX Champion Steven Wong, Malaysian sprinter Anuar Manan and Chinese champion Xu Gang.

It has also confirmed the signature of the Australian Cameron Wurf to its roster. He finished a fine fifth overall in last year’s Presidential Tour of Turkey and has moved across from the Liquigas Cannondale team. Beamon believes the 2007 Oceania Games TT champion will add important strength to the team.

“Cam should add a little depth to our GC capability,” he said. “His time-trialing and climbing abilities will also give us a little more depth in the shorter stage races, and hillier one day events.”

It is not yet clear if he could be part of the line-up for Het Nieuwsblad. The team composition will be finalised closer to the February 25th start date. Wurf, meanwhile, is due to meet up with the team in its training camp in Hainan this week.


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