Bahrain-Merida 2017Bahrain | Website

The Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling team has joined the Union Cycliste Internationale’s top-flight WorldTour for 2017.

The new squad is backed by a group of Bahrain businesses and Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer Merida. Bahrain’s Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa has been a driving force behind the creation of the team.

Vincenzo Nibali is arguably the squad’s biggest signing, and he will lead the Middle East squad into the Grand Tours. Italian Nibali joins the team from Astana.

Also confirmed to have signed for the team are Enrico Gasparotto (from Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Yukiya Arashiro (Lampre-Merida), Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff), Grega Bole (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Borut Bozic (Cofidis), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Chun Kai Feng (Lampre-Merida), Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling), Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Dimension Data) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar).

In June 2016, human rights groups Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) sent a joint letter to the UCI urging them to consider the Bahrain-Merida team’s WorldTour application carefully. They raised questions relating to human rights record of the Bahrain team’s owner, Prince Nasser.

Official website:
Twitter feed: @bahrain_merida
Facebook page: