Jaan Kirsipuu will captain the Champion System Professional Continental Team, Asia's first UCI Professional Continental outfit during the 2012 season. Kirsipiuu, at 42 years of age, is showing few signs of slowing down.
Following a lengthy pro career in Europe, which saw him take four Tour de France stage victories and more than 130 wins in all, Kirsipuu took a little time out. But, like many bike riders, he loved racing so much that he soon returned, but with the intent of combining racing with travelling; hence he rode onto the Asian circuit a couple of seasons ago.
His passion for the sport and growing interest in the emerging Asian bike racing scene lead him to the Team Champion System Continental squad last year, where he took numerous victories; the highlight of which was a stage win in the UCI Asia Tour ranked Tour de Korea.
Kirsipuu's experience and credentials are legendary, and he's proven to be a major influence on his less experienced Asian teammates. The Estonian will serve as an "in the saddle" mentor.
Also stepping up from the continental team of 2011 is the current Estonian National Road Champion Mart Ojavee, a solid 31-year-old all-rounder who won several races this year, and finished 110th in the recent UCI Road Race World Championships in Denmark.
German sprinter and rouleur Matthias Friedemann, 27, and Swiss all-rounder Joris Boillat, 28, also join the roster of transferred riders from the 2011 Champion System team. Both riders won races in the US this year - Tour de Pitman and Hills of Somerset RR respectively - and will add firepower and experience to the Anglo-Asian line up.
The Asian contingent will be headed by Hong Kong's former national champion and 2008 Olympic Road race finisher, Wu Kin San, who previously rode as a stagiere with Lampre and then with the Continental Champion System team in 2011. The 26-year-old will be something of a kingpin in the multi-cultural team, providing a great and proven link between the Asian and international riders.
The first two Chinese riders to be contracted to the new team are Xu Gang and Jaio Pang Da, both coming from the Chinese based Max Success-Champion System team of 2011. This year 27-year-old Xu Gang took a stage victory in the Tour de Korea while Jaio Pang Da took the best Asian Rider jersey in the recent Tour of China.
Champion System has been a backer of leading Asian races and riders for many years now. They have sponsored teams in North America, Asia, Oceania and Europe for several years now, including being the title sponsor of their own Continental team in 2011.