ORICA-AIS is pleased to announce Sungeun Gu as its second new signing for the 2013 season. The 28-year-old is the reigning National Road Champion and will be the first professional female Korean rider.
“We’re really pleased to be able to sign Gu and we’re proud to have the first Korean pro on our team. Cycling is rapidly becoming a global sport, and we see our team as an active part of that development. Having Gu on that team is another big leap in that direction for us,” says General Manager Shayne Bannan.
Like many of her Australian teammates, Gu started her cycling career on the track. The multi-time junior Asian track champion went on to score silver in the points race and scratch race at the Junior Track World Championships. Her success on the track continued at the elite level with silver in a World Cup scratch race and gold in the points race at the Asian Track Cycling Championships.
“Gu will take an important step in her career coming to a European based road team with a full, international race schedule,” Bannan added. “We believe she has the talent and the personality to make it.”
As Gu transitioned from track to road, she spent time at the World Cycling Center in Switzerland, where ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Daniel Teklehaimanot also was recruited. Following her stint as a WCC trainee, Gu finished third on the road and second in the time trial at the UCI B World Championships in Cape Town. Her results secured her place at the Beijing Olympics.
Gu’s development has been supported within Asian cycling over the last four years. Notable results from the 2012 season include 2nd place in the Asian Road Championships and top-ten finishes on the first two stages of Tour of Thailand.
In its maiden season, ORICA-AIS successfully integrated European riders into a team that carried an Australian majority amongst its roster and boasted a distinctly Australian flavour. The team expects Gu to further its international flair while supporting its Australian roots.
“She will be part of a very experienced and successful team and we think she will thrive in this environment,” said ORICA-AIS Sports Director Dave McPartland. “We’re only entering our second season, but our structure is clearly working well and that will be a big part of her possibility to grow as a rider. We’re really looking forward to getting her onboard and to help her fully develop her road skills at the highest level.”