Following the Chinese Cycling Association’s decision not to field a team in the forthcoming Tour of Beijing, Champion System has been invited to fill their place, guaranteeing a Chinese presence in the field at the UCI WorldTour race.
Home riders Pengda Jioa, Biao Liu, Kun Jiang and Chinese national road race champion Gang Xu will thu all line up for Champion System in the race, which gets underway in Beijing on October 9.
“It is a great honour to represent my country as the national champion in our biggest race,” Xu said. “This is the most exciting event of the season for me and for my team.”
Argos-Shimano's decision to withdraw from the race due to the ongoing political tension between China and Japan over the sovereignty of the East China Sea islands had cast a shadow on the race. China has asked Japanese citizens to leave the country, while Shimano, a Japanese company, had already withdrawn from its role as the race's neutral service provider.
For Champion System – Asia’s only Pro Continental team – the Tour of Beijing will be their first outing at WorldTour level, although the squad has competed against a number of top flight teams already this season at the Tours of Qatar and Oman.
“One of the primary reasons the team was formed was to be able to bring China's top cycling talents together to represent their country and their provinces in Asia's most prestigious event and eventually in the biggest competitions around the world,” explained manager Edward Beamon.
The eight-man Champion System will also include American riders Chris Butler and Craig Lewis, Australian Aaron Kemps and Clinton Avery of New Zealand. The 24-year-old Butler raced in Beijing for BMC last season, and he is pleased to make a return to competing at WorldTour level.
“I participated in the 2011 Tour of Beijing and it was the most fun I had at an event last year,” Butler said. “I’m really looking forward to coming back with the Champion System Team and excited to see the more challenging parcours this year.”
The second Tour of Beijing brings the curtain down on the WorldTour season, and takes place from October 9-13.
Champion System team for the Tour of Beijing: Pengda Jioa, Biao Liu, Kun Jiang, Gang Xu, Chris Butler, Craig Lewis, Aaron Kemps and Clinton Avery.