CARSON, CA (BRAIN)—Custom apparel maker Champion System on Friday introduced its 2013 pro road cycling team, marking the second year for the world’s first Asian-based UCI Pro Continental squad.
The team is composed of 21 riders from 14 countries in Asia, North America and Europe, plus New Zealand, and boasts five national champions in Ryan Roth (road, Canada); Chan Jae Jang (road, South Korea); Ryota Nishizono (time trial, Japan); Matt Brammier (road, Ireland); and Gang Xu (road, China).
Based in China, the Champion System Pro Cycling Team was established last season in part to “establish a pathway of opportunity” for top Asian cyclists to gain recognition on the international pro scene, noted team general manager Ed Beamon. Ultimately, however, the main goal is to “encourage and motivate another generation of riders.”
With a season of experience behind the team and several members returning for a second year, “We’ve got it to the point where these guys can represent Asian cycling around the world,” Beamon added. “Hopefully we’ll shock a few teams in Europe as well as America.”
Among those returning to the squad is U.S. rider Craig Lewis, who bounced back from a severe femur injury suffered in the 2011 Giro d’Italia (riding for HTC-Highroad at the time) to a solo stage victory last year in Canada’s Tour de Beauce.
Friday’s introduction, held at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles County, was emceed by sports broadcaster Bonnie Bernstein, Active vice president Mike Reilly and USA Bicycling Hall of Famer and cycling commentator Todd Gogulski. Several dignitaries from Los Angeles’ Asian community attended, including officials from the consulates of Japan and Malaysia as well as representatives from the Asian Business Association and Chinese Chamber of Commerce.