May 11, 2019

Three times a charm for Vincenzo Nibali?

This Saturday, the 102nd edition of the Giro d’Italia as one of the three grand tours of the 2019 season starts in Bologna. The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM has decided to fully focus on supporting its captain Vincenzo Nibali who has won this race twice already. For the next three weeks he can rely on a highly experienced team.

The Giro d’Italia is one of only three grand tours on cycling’s race calendar, and the organizers have come up with a spectacular route for its 102nd edition: The race starts with an individual time trial over a distance of 8 kilometers from Bologna to Madonna di San Luca. The main challenge in this first stage will be to be pace one’s effort in order not to lose time in the tough finale. There are two more individual time trials throughout the next three weeks: Stage 9 leads from Riccione to San Marino and is 34.8 kilometers long, and the final stage on June 2nd is another test against the clock over a distance of 17 kilometers around Verona. With five demanding mountaintop finishes in the Dolomites and the West Alps and legendary passes such as the Gavia and the Mortirolo, the climbers get plenty of chances to show their skills. Whoever wants to compete for one of the spots on the podium after three weeks, 21 stages and a total distance of 3578 kilometers needs to be a very complete rider who can rely on the support of a strong team.

VIncenzo Nibali has already won the Giro d’Italia twice and is one of only a few riders who have managed to win all three grand tours in their career. Coming straight from a hard altitude training camp in Tenerife, he finished the Tour of the Alps in 3rd in the overall standings, showing great fighting spirit and attacking relentlessly. For the next three weeks Vincenzo Nibali is the undisputed leader of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, getting full support from a highly experienced team. The key riders he can rely on are Domenico Pozzovivo who has recovered from his nasty crash at Flèche Wallone and Damiano Caruso, a new signing for this season. The other team riders at the Giro d’Italia are Valerio Agnoli, Grega Bole, Andrea Garosio, Kristijan Koren and Antonio Nibali. While this line-up lacks a pure-bred sprinter, Grega Bole has shown repeatedly that he can score strong results from smaller groups.

Two days before the start of the race, Vincenzo Nibali was full of confidence: «The Giro d’Italia is the big goal of the first half of my season. My entire preparation has been tuned to get me to the start of this race in top condition. Apart from that we have been working hard as a team to make sure we can act as a well-trained unit in the race. But the competition is very strong - the next three weeks will show who’s the strongest. Since I’m superstitious, I prefer not to go into details regarding the exact results, but my ambitions are very big.» As the general manager of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, Brent Copeland is optimistic as well: «We have been working hard to get the strongest possible team to the start of this year’s Giro. Vincenzo Nibali in particular left nothing to chance in the run-up, and personally I have not seen him in such a strong shape at the shape of this race in recent years.»

As for the equipment the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM has plenty of options throughout the  next three weeks: Apart from the time trial bike TIME-WARP TT, the team riders can opt for the aero model REACTO EVO for flat stages and the particularly lightweight SCULTURA SL for mountain stages. Vincenzo Nibali will be competing the flat stages of the 102nd Giro d’Italia on the REACTO KOM that has been optimized for him and the mountain stages on the SCULTURA SL. At MERIDA BIKES we are crossing our fingers for him and the other team riders throughout the next three weeks. After all three times is a charm.

For the first time ever, a selection of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM will be competing at the Tour of California that starts on Sunday. Despite the fact that this race in West of the United States lacks an individual time trial, Rohan Dennis as the team’s designated captain aims for a top5 result in the overall standings. For bunch sprints Phil Bauhaus can rely on the support of Marcel Sieberg and Heinrich Haussler while Ivan Cortina and Hermann Pernsteiner can chase their own chances in select stages.