By Shane Stokes
Former Irish national champion David McCann and Kerry's Paul Griffin will both compete with the Giant Asia team in 2008, lining out against the top riders on that continent.
McCann had a successful showing with the team from 2004 to 2006, winning races such as the Tour of Korea, the Tour of Milad du Nour and landing stage victories in the Tour of Qinghai Lake, the Tour of Thailand and the Herald Sun Tour. He also took the Irish national road race championship, two national time trial titles and the FBD Insurance Rás in that time.
The 34 year-old competed with the Colavita Sutter Home team in the US this season but didn't manage to hit the same form. He and Giant Asia will be hoping that his return to the Continental team will see him back to his best in 2008.
Meanwhile 34 year old Griffin has been offered a new one year contract with the squad. He will have an early start to his season when he lines out in the six day Tour of Taiwan this Sunday.
He had a consistent time with the team in 2007, taking sixth overall in the Tour of East Java, seventh overall in the Jelajah Tour in Malaysia, ninth in the Tour of Taiwan, eleventh in the Tour of Siam and 18th in the Tour of Langkawi. The Giant Asia riders also took collective success in the latter event, beating many top pro squads. He said that this was one of his highlights of the year.
"Winning the team prize in the Tour of Langkawi was really special," he stated. "Beating ProTour teams like that was great."
Griffin has named the Malaysian race as one of his big goals for 2008. "The Tour de Langkawi is likely to be the first big target. I would love to do well in Langkawi - I really like that race," he told Cyclingnews. "To be able to compete well now in such an event is great. I remember when I started doing it first, back in 1999 with the Irish team. It was just a case of hanging on and finishing. So it is great to go back now and be able to attack in the mountains."