Following a successful first season as a UCI Continental team, OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team continues to progress towards realising its mission statement of becoming South East Asia’s premier road cycling team. The ambitious squad, which already boasts riders from five nations, this week added talented New Zealander Jason Christie to its roster.
Jason Christie on his way to a stage win at the New Zealand Cycle Classic, a UCI2.2-ranked stage race on the UCI OceaniaTour.
A long-time representative of New Zealand’s national track cycling team at Oceania and World Championship level, 22-year old Christie, whose road cycling career highlights include a stage win at the 2013 NZ Cycle Classic and 6th place in the 2011 U23 Individual Time Trial World Championship, this week flies into Singapore to meet his new teammates ahead of this weekend’s UCI2.2-ranked Tour de Korea.
The powerful youngster, who hails from Ashburton, Mid-Canterbury – the same town that produced ProTeam veteran Hayden Roulston (Radioshack-Leopard-Trek) – may be a new face on the AsiaTour, but he already brings an abundance of European race experience to the team. In signing Christie, OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team principle Daniel Loy is looking to nurture Christie’s undisputed talent whilst hoping for a pollinating of knowledge from his new charge.
“We’ve always been fans of the Oceania racing scene, the quality that exists in spite of the relatively small racing fields – as opposed to the European heartlands – and the human qualities of riders from Australia and New Zealand who look to practice their craft abroad. We believe Jason will fit in beautifully with our team ethos of Team Work, Professionalism and Development. We sincerely look forward to Jason making a mark on the UCI Asia Tour – for himself and the team by extension – as well as sharing with his Singaporean teammates all that he knows!”
OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team (L to R): Thomas Rabou, Ho Jun Rong, Lemuel Lee, Ahmad Haidar bin Anuawar, Marcus Leong, Phuchong Saiudomsin, Loh Sea Keong, Goh Choon Huat, Ryan Chan, Low Ji Wen, Timothy Lim.
The Singapore-registered team has been a constant presence in the UCI AsiaTour this season and the team’s reputation was a decisive factor in Christie’s decision. “I am really looking forward to joining the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team for the 2013 season”, said Christie, who this weekend wrapped up a two-month training block in Belgium and Spain. “This is a real opportunity to grow as a rider within a team which gives great support to its riders and has an amazing racing calendar, not to mention sponsors who clearly understand and love cycling.”
Loy bought forward the time-trial specialist’s start date after his team’s late invitation to the Tour de Korea, and hopes Christie will get an immediate chance to stamp his first mark in OCBC colours at the eight-stage event, which this year includes a team time trial. “The Tour de Korea start is a little sooner than we expected but, with the opportunity presenting itself, we said ‘why not?’ Taking Jason on mid-season will allow him the opportunity to race extensively throughout Asia. He will be racing with us in Jelajah Malaysia, Tour of Borneo, Tour de Hokkaido, Tour of East Java, Tour of Indonesia, Tour of Bali, Tour de Brunei and as many of the China races that we get invited to as we near the end of 2013. We fully expect him to hit the ground running; a couple of stage wins and the odd top five on GC in the 2.2 races are some goals set for him.”
Disclaimer: clearly Cycling iQ does not report new signings of every team but, whenever a fellow Kiwi joins a team based in Asia, news releases can be expected! Jason can be followed on Twitter, as can the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team.