Bike manufacturer Cannondale has announced the creation of a new Japanese Continental team, Cannondale Space Zero Point. The squad will predominantly include young and promising Japanese riders with a view to developing local talent. The plan is to be successful in Japanese races as of 2012 and, over time, make athletes take their talent to a higher level in Europe.
"Our vision for the team in the future is to create a training program in Japan also for the Liquigas-Cannondale team," said Cannondale Japan CEO Mario Stein, who felt that the brand delevopment in Japan and riders' results made 2012 "the best time to commence professional training in Japan."
Italian squad Liquigas-Cannondale does not contain any Asian riders at this point, but several Japanese athletes have made the leap to World Tour level in Europe before, such as Fumiyuki Beppu and Yukiya Arashiro.
The team's general manager Shigehiko Satoh was happy to see the outfit finally come to life. "We will get the Continental team I have personally dreamed of for many years. Over time, we would like to develop world-class young riders but in the near future, we will always produce leading Japanese riders," he commented.
Team Cannondale Space Zero Point plans to participate in the Tour of Japan and Japan Cup races from next spring.