Champion System Reveals Rosters For Upcoming Races
Hong Kong, SAR – The Champion System Pro Cycling Team will field versatile rosters for a pair of one-day races in Belgium this weekend, as well as for the 10-day Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, which begins Thursday.
Fresh off earning “most aggressive rider” honors at the Tour of Oman, Bobbie Traksel headlines Champion System’s roster for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Saturday and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday. The two races mark the start of the squad’s European racing campaign.
Traksel won Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in 2010 and was 15th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last year.
“Bobbie Traksel’s knowledge and experience will help guide a motivated group,” Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said. “I expect he and Matt Brammeier will be our best opportunity for top places.”
Traksel said he is anxious to make the switch from riding on sun-splashed, wide-open desert highways – as he did the past two weeks in Qatar and Oman – to narrow, and sometimes cobblestoned roads of northern Europe.
“With the start of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the season really begins,” Traksel said “The next couple weeks are all about the team making a good impression on the north European routes.”
Brammeier, the Irish national road champion, said racing in Qatar and Oman helped him gain form.
“I’m super motivated and raring to go,” Brammeier said. “Hopefully I can learn a lot from Bobbie and he can give me some guidance leading up to and during the race.”
Making their debut with the Champion System team at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad are Canadian Ryan Roth and Belgian Sport Director Franky van Haesebroucke.
Climbers For Langkawi
Asia’s first and only pro continental team heads to the Tour de Langkawi with its eye on stage wins and the general classification, Beamon said.
Americans Chad Beyer, Chris Butler and Craig Lewis – along with Slovenian Gregor Gazvoda – all bring substantial climbing experience that should translate into a solid performance on the general classification, Beamon said.
Butler said he has focused his training to be on top form at Langkawi and that this race is a top priority for his season.
“I’m confident in my climbing fitness,” Butler said. “I have trained hard to mix in some speed work in preparation for the race. My teammates are on good climbing form and we are all hungry to race.”
Beyer, who is making his debut with Champion System, said he is also eager to race after a long off-season.
“I’ve put in the training and hopefully it pays off,” Beyer said. “I’ve had a chance to look at the stages and it’s going to be a solid race with a couple of big climbing days.”
For stage wins, Beamon said he is eager to see how another new signee, Fabian Schnaidt, performs in the bunch sprints. The German won stages at the Tour of Qinghail Lake, La Tropicale Amissa Bongo and Oberösterreichrundfahrt last year.
“I’m anxious to see if we can give him a good run at a few of the sprint stages,” Beamon said.
The more than 1,400-km race begins with a 162.7 km stage that features two intermediate sprints and a categorized climb.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne Rosters (Feb. 23 and 24):
Clinton Avery (NZL), Matt Brammeier (IRL), Matthias Friedemann (GER), Mart Ojavee (EST), Ryan Roth (CAN), Wang Yip Tang (HKG), Bobbie Traksel (NED), Kin San Wu (HKG)
Sport Director: Franky van Haesebroucke (BEL)
Tour of Langkawi Roster (Feb. 21-March 2):
Chad Beyer (USA), Chris Butler (USA), Gregor Gazvoda (SLO), Craig Lewis (USA), Adiq Othman (MAS), Fabian Schnaidt (GER)
Sport Director: Ed Beamon (USA)
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Bobbie Traksel held the most aggressive rider jersey from start to finish for the Champion System Pro Cycling Team at the Tour of Oman. (Champion System photo.)
Craig Lewis, left, is one of three Americans who will compete for the Champion System Pro Cycling Team at the Tour de Langkawi while Matt Brammeier is on the roster for the team’s first races in Europe. (Photo by Brian Hodes, VeloImages.com)