Merida Bikes has confirmed it is stepping back from its headline sponsorship of WorldTour outfit Bahrain-Merida after three seasons.
The Taiwan-based bike builder joined up with the team at the start of 2017, but will be reducing its sponsorship as McLaren steps up its involvement in cycling.
Bahrain-Merida will have a heavy British influence from next season, as Team Sky co-foundER Rod Ellingworth takes over as team principal and sprinter Mark Cavendish joins from Dimension Data.
Merida will continue as bike sponsor for Bahrain, but will no longer be a headline sponsor in the WorldTour.
Director of sport marketing at Merida Bikes, Andreas Rottler, said: “We are immensely proud of the last three years and what we have achieved.
“Being part of the team from its very beginning and securing two Grand Tour podiums in the first season gives us a great sense of accomplishment and an eagerness to stay involved with the Bahrain WorldTour team.
“It is a great honour as well as a responsibility to continue with one of the most successful teams in the peloton and we are looking forward to our new role.”
Cycling Weekly understands the team will be called Bahrain-McLaren in 2020.
Merida spent four years as lead sponsor of Lampre-Merida before switching to the newly formed Bahrain-Merida squad at the start of 2017.
Much of the team’s success has come from Italian star Vincenzo Nibali, who was on the podium of both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España in the squad’s first year, going on to win Il Lombardia that year and Milan-San Remo in the spring of 2018.
There is plenty of change at Bahrain-Merida this winter, as Rod Ellingworth takes over after leaving Team Ineos.
Ellingworth will also be working with his old mentee Cavendish once more, after previous success at the 2011 World Championships and at Team Sky.
The team have signed Wout Poels and Mikel Landa, with Brits Scott Davies and Fred Wright also joining for 2020.
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