Merida has announced that it will become the equipment sponsor of the newly formed Bahrain Cycling Team, so it now becomes the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team.
Lampre-Merida team manager Brent Copeland is on board as General Manager and it looks like Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali will be leading the team, although that has yet to be confirmed.
Merida has been represented in the WorldTour by Lampre-Merida since 2013. The team uses Scultura (lightweight) and Reacto (aero) bikes for road stages, and Warps for time trials.
“This partnership is part of an ongoing commitment to establishing a top contending team in the pro peloton [in] 2017 season,” says the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team.
The team will be funded through a consortium of businesses and partners from Bahrain.
“The Tour of Qatar, the Tour of Dubai and the Tour of Oman as well as the Road Racing World Championships, which will take place in Qatar in October 2016, have already started to introduce the world of road racing to the Gulf region and have set a clear sign for making cycling a sport for the masses,” says Merida.
Merida bikes are available in 88 countries but the brand so far has little presence in the Gulf region. It sees involvement with the team as an opportunity to change that.
“As a Taiwanese company with a Germany based R&D department as well as production facilities in the People’s Republic of China, intercultural challenges and dealing with different political and social systems has been part of Merida’s day to day business since its very beginning in 1972,” says Merida
“Merida is a firm believer in the unifying forces of cycling, even and particularly in countries where this beautiful sport is still at its beginning. This is the reason why Merida can see a huge opportunity in the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team, which will help to bring the sport of cycling with all its facets across another border and introduce it to more and more people.”
Details of the team roster will be announced “in due course”.
If you have a niggling feeling that the team’s graphics (main pic, above) look vaguely familiar to you, could this be the reason why?
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.