Bahrain-Merida 2017Bahrain | Website

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

The 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 leads the Middle East squad into the Grand Tours. Italian Nibali joined the team from Astana.

Nibali duly delievered the team’s biggest qins in its debut year, winning a stage of the Giro d’Italia, a stage of the Vuelta a España and Il Lombardia. He followed this up with a memorable victory in the 2018 Milan-San Remo after a late atack.

Spanish brothers Gorka and Ion Izagirre represent the team’s other big hopes for stage race wins.

Sonny Colbrelli, Giovanni Visconti, Niccolo Bonifazio and Manuele Boaro have so far provided the team with stage and one-day race victories.

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.

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