Behind the Scenes at Team Training Camp

After their team presentation in Beijing, Champion System flew to Wuzhishan, Hainan Island for team training camp. And on Day 1, Malaysian spritner Adiq Othman is all smiles.

Current Estonian National Champion Mart Ojavee, who’s compiled 8 pro wins over his career, looking calm, cool, and collected.

Former Lampre rider King San Wu, of Hong Kong, prepares for a misty ride.

Kun Jiang, of China, shows off his Oval Concepts bars.

Malaysian sprinter Anuar Manan picks up some speed through Hainan’s hilly outskirts.

Kiwi Clinton Avery and Australian Aaron Kemps take the lead.

Pengda Jiao drops back to the team car to chat with Sports Director Ed Beamon.

Not a bad spot for a training ride.

Belgian Gorik Gardeyn tells Sport Direct Ed Beamon how much he likes the weather: 62 Farenheit, cloudy, and humid – perfect for riding.

Gorik, with numerous stage wins to his name, will be leading the squad in the team’s first Classics appearance at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in his native Belgium at the end of February.

German Matthias Freidemann looking quite content on his SST.

Matthias and Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu, a 1999 TDF yellow jersey wearer, pedal along with ease.

For Day 2,  Ed suited up for the ride.

Clinton and Adiq share a laugh.

Ed, always looking for a good opportunity for a joke, poses with his panda hat, which has Aaron Kemps smiling.

Ed chats with his team before embarking on their 4-hr ride.

Joris Boillat and Gorik Gardeyn have certainly distinguished themselves as the jokesters. Here, Joris kisses Mart for the photo. Mart doesn’t even look surprised!

Bustling around on Day 3.

Kin San Wu chats with Champion System Executive Manager Louis Shih, who can’t help but admire Wu’s bike.

Laura Lepasalu and Jennifer Woodward are the team’s two soigneurs. Laura has a degree in kinesiology, while Jennifer specializes in physical therapist and has been an experienced soigneur in the pro peloton for many years now. The two work incessantly to ensure that that the riders and staff have all they need to perform at their best.  Without them, no team could function – let alone succeed.

Kun Jiang talks with Zhe Shi, an invaluable member of the team. She serves as both executive assistant and interpreter for the Chinese riders that are in the process of learning English: the official language of the team.

Dr. Aaron Rowland doles out some advice to his riders before the morning ride.

7-time Asian BMX Champion Steven Wong and Aussie sprinter Aaron Kemps check an app that measures oxygen level.

The team’s tremendous videographer, Bun Siu Mok,  films a grinning Clinton Avery – 2007 New Zealand National Mountain Bike Champion – as he exits the hotel lobby.

Team Doctors Dawn Richardson and Aaron Rowland pose with members of the squad.

Gorik donning a bandana and a smile.

A Chilly Ride in Beijing

Before heading to Hainan for training camp, the team got an early start in Beijing. Here Kung Jiang takes a pre-ride power-nap.

Matthias Friedemann smiles for the camera, eager to tell Sponsorship Manger Milay about how he is looking forward to returning to Fuji’s home turf for the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. The young sprinter form Germany was 7th in last year’s race.

A grin from Joris Boillat.

One bus for the riders, one bus for their bikes.

Australian sprinter Aaron Kemps poses for a photo with his SST. This is his second year with his favorite Fuji model, as he was member of 2011 Fuji-sponsored V Australia.

Matthias looks surprisingly content despite below freezing temperatures in Beijing.

Kung Jiang and his SST 1.0 ready for the day’s ride.

Gorik Gardeyn and Matthias flash a smile for the camera.

And they’re off!

The 85-km ride featured a pretty remarkable backdrop: the Great Wall.

Lunch break.

Joris Boillat was kind enough to make General Manager Ed Beamon a “crown” with the “left overs” from the lunch.  Ed was more than willing to show it off.

The team poses for a photo outside the restaurant. Gorik Gardeyn, clearly the emerging jokester, pulls Ed Beamon’s hat.

Later that evening, rider Kin San Wu took all the co-sponsors out for dinner at one of the famous night markets on the streets of Beijing. Here, Wu and two Champion System staff members toast their Chinese warm yogurt.

More to come from Hainan!

Will Clarke wins Tour Down Under Stage 2 – Fuji’s 1st Win of 2012!

© Marc Gunter Photography

From an end-of-the-season Grand Tour victory to a first-of-the-year World Tour win, Fuji proved today – perhaps more than ever – that it belongs in the pro peloton.

Staying away for an entire stage, Will Clarke – racing for Uni-SA (University of South Australia national team) before joining his Champion System teammates, triumphantly crossed the Tour Down Under’s Stage 2 finish line Wednesday atop his Fuji SST 3.0 – a bike he received just days before the start of the race from Fuji distributor Oceania Bicycles.

Oceania Owner David Hall couldn’t be more thrilled with the win, not only for what it means for his country but what it means for the Fuji brand.

“We are ecstatic that an Aussie won right here on home turf. Clarke wowed the world today with such a dominant and inspired ride – everyone at Fuji Australia is very proud and feels as if we played a little part in this great victory.”

He added, “What I think is really worth noting is that the frame and fork Clarke raced on are the stock frame from an SST 3.0 – a mid-level bike that is clearly ready to win at the Pro Tour level.”

Clarke broke away from the peloton a kilometer into the 148-km stage from Lobethal to Stirling.

The initial break consisted of Clarke and Martin Kohler of BMC. While Kohler ate up the initial sprint points, Clarke claimed victory on the Category 2 Lenswood climb and then dropped Kohler, pushing ahead solo.

His lead peaked at a remarkable 12 minutes and heading into the final circuit, he retained a more than 10-minute lead.

While it significantly diminished in the final lap, an exhausted Clarke refused to give up. As the finish line came into sight, he was greeted by what many called a “hero’s welcome,” an eruption of cheers for the underdog who left an unsuspecting peloton in the dust.

The 26-year-old’s first-ever victory on the World Tour stage, Clarke called the win simply “unbelieveable” and the “biggest win of his career.” He now leads both the Sprints Classification and the KOM heading into the Tour’s final four stages.

“What a great way to start the season. The first of many wins, I hope,” said Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon.

This is the second time Fuji has won a stage at the Tour Down Under, the first under Manuel Cardoso in Stage 3 of the TDU 2010. Both Cardoso and Clarke won aboard Fuji’s aero carbon bike, the SST.

Watch Clarke power through the final kilometers!

Learn what Clarke’s Champion System teammates have been up to with photos and insider details from Team Training Camp – coming tomorrow.

Champion System Takes the Stage

Scores of journalists from Asia and Australia flocked to Beijing Wednesday, where Team Champion System – the first-ever pro-continental squad based in Asia – took to the stage for its official Team Presentation.

Adorned in their navy and orange Champion System custom kits, each member of the 18-rider squad was introduced, including former Chinese National Champion Xu Gang, former Hong Kong National Champion and Olympian Wu Kin San, 7-time Asian Continental BMX Champion Steven Wong, former Malaysian National Champion Adiq Othoman, current Estonian National Champion Mart Ojavee, and multiple Tour de France stage winner Jaan Kirsipuu.

General Manager Ed Beamon talks to his squad before their first formal introduction to the media.

The real stars of the show: the team’s SST’s and Altamira’s.

“We’ve always supported cyclists throughout Asia, and now we’ve decided to take that support to the next level,” said Louis Shih, Champion System founder.

General Manager Ed Beamon spoke about their mission to grow the sport of cycling in China.

In total, approximately 100 people attended the presentation, including more than 30 journalists and photographers.

Chinese riders Xu Gang, Jiao Pengda, Jiang Kun, and Liu Biao pose for a photo with China and Hong Kong Cycling’s Coach Shen.

From left to right: Estonian Jann Kirsipuu, American Chris Butler, and Kiwi Avery Clinton.

Some Champion System flair.

Cycling commentator John Eustace interviews Asian BMX star Steven Wong about his transition to road racing.

Sponsorship Manager Milay poses proudly with the newest members of the Fuji family.

Dinner that evening brought even more people and eyes to the newest members of Champion System.

Covered by all the major Asian media outlets, as well as Cycling News, Velonation, and Bicycling magazine, the launch of the first-ever continental cycling team based in Asia is simply big news!

Thank you GEOX-TMC, Introducing Champion System

© Bettini

Juan Jose Cobo and his GEOX-TMC teammates gave us our first-ever grand tour victory – the ultimate triumph. They provided us with a year of excitement and challenges that culminated in supreme gratification, moving Fuji beyond World Tour-tested to Grand Tour-proven.

We are disappointed that the team will not be moving forward in 2012. We will very much miss the riders and staff and the relationships we fostered. But we are extremely grateful for the great year GEOX-TMC gave us and are happy to know that each rider will continue racing in 2012. Thank you to all of you who followed the blog – in record numbers – this past year. We hope you enjoyed getting to go behind-the-scenes with GEOX-TMC.

The good news is…

It doesn’t stop here! We’re pleased to introduce you to Champion System, the first-ever pro-continental cycling team based in Asia. Fuji is thrilled to be a part of this historic project that boasts riders from 9 different countries and former Chinese National Champion Xu Gang, 4-time Tour de France stage winner Jaan Kirsipuu, and 7-time Asian BMX Champion Steven Wong.

In 2012, we’ll again be giving you an insider look at the inner-workings of a pro-cycling team as Champion System tackles races all across the globe  – from China to Belgium to the U.S. aboard their Altamira’s and SST’s.

Sponsorship Manager Milay Galvez is in China for the Champion System Team Presentation and training camp. Stay tuned for photos, video, and all the insider scoop!


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