Brammeier looking to step up personal performances with Champion System team
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Brammeier looking to step up personal performances with Champion System team

by VeloNation Press at 4:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Irishman one of several national champions joining Chinese Pro Continental squad

Matt BrammeierIrish road race champion Matt Brammeier is seeking greater responsibility and opportunities in 2013, with the 27 year old switching from a domestique’s role with the WorldTour-level Omega Pharma Quick Step squad to a more protected role with the Pro Continental Champion System Pro Cycling team.

Brammeier beat Ag2r La Mondiale professional Nicolas Roche and up and coming young Irish rider Philip Lavery to his third consecutive national road race title in June. Together with his two time trial titles, the success represented the fifth shamrock jersey he has work since declaring for Ireland in 2009.

The 2012 season was at times a frustrating one for Brammeier due to injury niggles but he did some strong riding for the Omega Pharma Quick Step team and also picked up thirteenth on a stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

He’s ready for a fresh start and believes he’d been able to perform with the Champion System team. “It's going to be an exciting year and what I hope is a step forward in my career,” he said. “I have spent the past two seasons on some of the world's biggest teams in mainly a supporting role. So I am quite confident I can play that role at a good level now.

“However, next year I want to make a step up and put some more pressure on myself, play my cards a little more and put some results on my palmares. I also want to pass on my experience helping some of the younger guys and, of course, play a supporting role to our sprinters and climbers when and where I am needed.”

He is just one of five national champions who will form part of the Chinese team’s roster next year. That country’s title holder Gang Xu will return after being with the team in 2012, while previously-announced Canadian national champion Ryan Roth will also be on board.

Two others in national colours have also signed up; they are South Korean title holder and Tour of Korea stage winner Chan Jae Jang, plus the Japanese TT champion Ryota Nishizono. The latter took second overall in the Tour of Hokkaido this season.

General manager Ed Beamon recognises that each of those jerseys will bring prestige and also attention from fans and the media. “Having national champions representing five nations and three continents is a strong indication of how interesting and diverse the Champion System team is,” he said. “We are especially proud to be broadening our Asian base.

“Having a South Korean and Japanese national champion on the team validates our commitment to finding the best talent in Asia and providing them the opportunity to fulfill their potential on a world stage.”

Also coming on board is a past three-time Slovenian national TT champion Gregor Gazvoda, who will move from the WorldTour-level Ag2r La Mondiale team. He has already performed strongly in Asia in the past, winning the Tour of Qinghai Lake in 2011, and is happy to go back there.

“I am honoured to join a team that is young, motivated and eager to progress,” said the 31 year old. “Cycling in Asia is developing very fast and I am proud to be a part of the first Asian professional cycling team. I’m ready to give my best to help our team be more successful.”

Both Jang and Nishizono recognise that the team’s racing programme means that they will both be racing in a wide range of locations and at a higher level than before.

“The team gives me great opportunity to be a world-class cyclist and I feel the responsibility to show Asian riders have the potential to compete the highest level races,” said the latter. “I would like to contribute largely to the team with my hill climbing ability and toughness in stage races.”

The team has a long term goal to become a UCI ProTeam and thus ride races such as the Tour de France. Executive manager Louis Shih said that 2012 was testing at times but that he was satisfied with the five wins achieved, including the team classification success in the Tour of Fuzhou.

“We are happy and felt that our first effort in establishing a pro cycling culture in Asia is well rewarded,” he said. “My congratulations to our team at Tour of Fuzhou. Their good result is a great way to end our first season.”

In addition to the riders mentioned above, the team will also feature four other previously-announced signings, namely Ryan Anderson (Canada), Chad Beyer (USA), Fabian Schnaidt (Germany) and the Dutchman Bobbie Traksel, plus returning riders Clinton Avery (New Zealand), Americans duo Chris Butler and Craig Lewis, Matthias Friedemann (Germany) and Mart Ojavee (Estonia).

Further Asian signings will be announced soon.

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