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Ex-head of performance at Team Sky will lead team co-owned by McLaren

Former Team Sky per performance manager Rod Ellingworth is to become team principal at Bahrain-Merida with effect from 1 October this year.

The 46-year-old, who was also instrumental in setting up the British Cycling Academy in Italy and masterminded the road world championship victory in 2011 of one of his former charges there, Mark Cavendish, is currently on gardening leave.

However, prior to formally taking up his new role in the autumn, he will work with the team, a joint venture between Bahrain World Tour Cycling and McLaren, to plan for the 2020 season and beyond.

He said: “I’m delighted to be joining Team Bahrain-Merida as team principal. Since the team’s break-through season in 2017, I’ve been impressed by its competitiveness.

“McLaren’s co-ownership of the team now provides a unique opportunity to look at every area of performance with a fresh perspective – and I find this massively appealing.

“I’m also excited by the opportunity to bring my own knowledge and ideas to the team and can’t wait to get stuck in.”

John Allert, managing director of McLaren Pro Cycling, commented: “Rod’s appointment as team principal of Team Bahrain-Merida underscores our determination to succeed at the top level of this great sport.

“His remarkable track record, coupled with the respect he has earned throughout the cycling community, make Rod the perfect leader for this next chapter in the team’s development.

“Despite his abundant experience, Rod’s voracious appetite for new knowledge and innovative approaches to traditional challenges perfectly complements the team ethos. We are delighted to welcome him to the team.”

Ellingworth will formally take up his new role less than a fortnight before the final Monument of the year, Il Lombardia, a racethat Bahrain-Merida’s star rider, Vincenzo Nibali, has won twice.

The Italian is already confirmed as moving to Trek-Segafredo next year and is likely to take some key support riders and staff with him, resulting in a reshaping of the squad in the months ahead under its new team principal.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.