We're hearing more and more about the new Champion System team, the first pro-continental team out of Asia and a product of former Navigators GM Ed Beamon.
The latest news is that we'll see this squad racing on Fuji SSTs when they line up in the Tours of Qatar and Oman in February. The team hasn't released its official roster yet, but we do know Americans Craig Lewis (formerly of HTC-Highroad) and Chris Butler (formerly BMC Racing Team) will be a part of it. What races the team will get entry in as far as the U.S. circuit remains to be seen.
Here's the official release from the Champion System team about its sponsorship from Fuji.
Fuji to be Official Bike Sponsor of Historic Asian Cycling Team
Philadelphia – Fuji Bikes is pleased to announce that it will be the official bike sponsor of the first pro-continental cycling team based in Asia: Champion System.
Born out of a desire to grow the sport of cycling in Asia, as well as create an avenue of opportunity for Asian cyclists on a world stage, the Champion System squad will race across the globe in 2012 aboard Fuji Altamira's and SST's.
The Altamira is Fuji's top-of-the-line, grand-tour winning, all-carbon race bike with a tapered head tube for precise handling, an oversized down tube for superior efficiency, and full-carbon dropouts for weight reduction. It's the bike that carried Juan Jose Cobo to victory at the 2011 Vuelta a España.
The SST is the ultimate sprinter's bike. Designed with asymmetrical chainstays, aero-shaped tubes, and Fuji's R.I.B. carbon membrane technology, the SST ensures maximum power transfer so that every sprint is explosive for Champion System's most powerful riders.
"We're thrilled to be a part of this historic project," Fuji V.P. of Marketing Karen Bliss said. "In partnership with title sponsor Champion System Sport, it is our mutual hope to grow the market and sport in a region with huge potential, as well as put Asia's rising stars on some of the best bikes in the world."
"Fuji is the brand we knew we wanted," Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said. "More than a century old, Fuji's tested and proven, especially on the pro cycling level."
Likely one of the most international rosters in the peloton, the Champion System squad will feature riders from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States. Top signees include the former Chinese National Champion Xu Gang, Estonian four-time Tour de France stage winner Jaan Kirsipuu, and seven-time Asian BMX Champion Steven Wong.
With the team presentation scheduled for Jan. 11 in Bejiing and team training camp to follow in Hainan, Champion System will start its season at the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman in early February, having recently received invites from the ASO. The team will then begin a global campaign that includes prominent races in Europe and North America, as well as all of Asia's top races: the Tour of Langkawi, Tour of Qinghai Lake, Tour of China, Tour of Hainan, Tour of Taiwan, and Tour of Korea.
Additional technical sponsors and team presentation details will be announced in the coming days.
About Fuji Bikes
Established in 1899, the Fuji brand is one of the oldest surviving bicycle brands in the world. Fuji's steadfast philosophy in utilizing the most advanced technology and incorporating elite athlete input into its high-performance products has enabled the brand to endure while others have faltered. Fuji offers a complete line of premium bikes - road, specialty, mountain, women's, kids, urban, transportation, comfort, and cruiser - through its network of specialty bicycle retailers across the globe. To learn more, please visit www.fujibikes.com.