From MERIDA BIKES’ perspective, the first two years have been a great success for the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM. When the project started in 2016 Sheik Nasser was very convincing, thanks to his passion for the sport of cycling and his visionary ideas. From there the management did an impressive job within a very limited time, building a powerful World tour team to compete in the season 2017. The first victory came early when Ramunas Navardauskas won the individual time trial at Argentina’s Vuelta de San Juan at the end of January. Vincenzo Nibali made it to the overall podium of both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España - putting MERIDA BIKES on the podium of a Grand Tour for the first time.
The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM won 12 races in total in its first season, with Sonny Colbrelli scoring three wins and the first win in a World tour race. Vincenzo Nibali topped off the season with a marvelous win at il Lombardia, getting the first victory in one of cycling’s monuments for MERIDA BIKES. While the first season was a thrilling one, the second season served up a mixed bag of emotions. Vincenzo Nibali delivered another masterclass, riding MERIDA BIKES’ new REACTO aero road bike to a spectacular solo win at Milano San Remo, another of cycling’s monuments. The team won 26 races in total, and Matej Mohoric proved his class repeatedly, winning the longest stage of the Giro d’Italia in May and then both the Binck Bank Tour and the Deutschland Tour in short succession in August.
The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM had to overcome tough moments as well this year, especially in the prestigious Grand Tours: Domenico Pozzovivo showed great fighting spirit at the Giro d’Italia but after three weeks he was rewarded poorly for his efforts. As for the Tour de France a brand-new bike had been developed for the time trials with the TIME-WARP TT. Everything seemed to be running according to plan and Vincenzo Nibali seemed to be on course for a podium finish in the overall of yet another Grand Tour. But an over-enthusiastic spectator brought him down on the climb to Alpe d’Huez, thwarting his plans and forcing him out of the race. In this difficult situation the team reacted bravely, keeping the moral high and scoring no less than five 2nd place finishes in stages. At the end of the season the team was placed in 7th in the UCI’s team standings, thus missing out on the top5 narrowly.
The future of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM is bright, with a number of signings that will boost the level of an already powerful team. Riders such as reigning time trial world champion Rohan Dennis, Dylan Teuns, Damiano Caruso and Jan Tratnik can win one-day races but also shine in stage races, Phil Bauhaus and Marcel Sieberg add to the team’s firepower in bunch sprints and riders like Andrea Garosio and Stephen Williams are promising talents for the future. Add to this the new partnership with McLaren that will open up new possibilities for the team and of course for MERIDA BIKES. This is an exciting new development that will further add to our motivation to provide the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM with state-of-the-art equipment for every single race on the calendar.
Having said all this, we at MERIDA BIKES are looking forward to the next season, closely cooperating with the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM and its new partner McLaren.