Wout Poels, Bernhard Eisel and Mark Cavendish to Bahrain-Merida, according to new reports

Cavendish has already been rumoured to be joining Bahrain as Poels could be leaving Team Ineos

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout Poels could be leaving Team Ineos after five years, as rumours have resurfaced that Mark Cavendish could be joining Bahrain-Merida.

Dutchman Poels could be leaving the British WorldTour outfit to also join Bahrain, according to reports.

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport (opens in new tab) report that Poels, Cavendish and Bernie Eisel could all be making the switch to the Middle East-based team, which will be run by new principal Rod Ellingworth.

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All three riders have ridden for Team Sky, where Ellingworth was a co-founder and long-standing performance director.

Ellingworth will start his new job as team principal at Bahrain-Merida at the start of October, while current general manager Brent Copeland will stay in his current job and work with the Brit.

Mark Cavendish and Ellingworth have a long history of working together, including the successful 2011 World Championships won by the Manxman and at Team Sky in 2012.

Cavendish was believed to be in talks with the Bahrain squad last season, as British motor racing giant McLaren came on board as 50 per cent partner in the team, but the deal fell through and the sprinter re-signed with Dimension Data for another year.

But rumours of his joining have resurfaced after Dimension Data didn’t select him for the Tour de France, supported by Ellingworth’s new role at the team.

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According to the reports, Cavendish would also take his trusted lead-out rider Bernhard Eisel with him from Dimension Data.

Poels’s contract with Team Ineos expires at the end of the season and he could also be joining Ellingworth, having first signed with the British team in 2015.

The 31-year-old has been a faithful lieutenant in Grand Tours, supporting Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal to their three-week victories

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.