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Since MERIDA BIKES joined professional road cycling as a co-sponsor back in 2013, the team names and the sponsoring partners have seen various changes. The Kingdom of Bahrain joined in 2017 as a title sponsor, laying the foundation for today's Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS. What has remained unchanged ever since is our commitment to provide the team with the best equipment possible – closely cooperating with athletes, performance coaches and other suppliers to help drive the team's success and forge our products in the heat of competition. From 2017 to 2021, riders aboard MERIDA BIKES won 94 races and scored a total of 286 podium results – some impressive numbers.
The 2022 season saw the team winning 21 races and adding 31 second and 26 third places. The season's highlight came in March with Matej Mohoric's solo win at Milan-Sanremo following a daredevil descent from the Poggio. This added another monument of cycling to the tally of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS. Prior to that, Wout Poels had already won the Vuelta a Andalucia, Santiago Buitrago secured a stage at the Saudi Tour, and Dylan Teuns won the semi-classic Flèche Wallone. Other spectacular victories included the overall standings at the Cro Race and the team classification at the Giro d'Italia. In addition, Matevz Govekar won his first pro race at the Vuelta a Burgos. On top of that, Mikel Landa secured third places in the GC at both the Giro d'Italia and Tirreno Adriatico, while Gino Mäder finished the Tour de Romandie in an impressive second position. And despite missing out on a stage win, Fred Wright's attacking riding style at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España delighted the fans.
The big downer, of course, was seeing the team lose one of its stars, with Sonny Colbrelli being forced off the bike and into a way too early retirement due to severe heart issues. Colbrelli will continue with Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS as part of the staff, and his triumphs in 2021 will surely stay alive in our memories. Grazie Mille and have a good time aboard our MERIDA BIKES, Sonny!
Looking forward, one thing is clear: At MERIDA, we will be putting all our efforts into the upcoming season and provide the team riders with three different frames, allowing them to get their preferred setup and tailor their equipment perfectly for the various terrains, courses, and conditions at hand. Riders will use the MERIDA SCULTURA and REACTO models for stage races and single-day events, depending on whether aerodynamics or weight is key. The TIME WARP-TT DISC has been developed as a dedicated TT bike and has proven its worth.
For 2023, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS has signed seven new riders. Nikias Arndt adds a lot of experience from both track and road to the sprint train. Andrea Pasqualon and Dusan Rajovic have great speed and are hard to drop on climbs, while Cameron Scott could turn into a similar type of rider. With Fran Miholjevic and Rainer Kepplinger, the team has also added two promising talents to its roster. And finally, 25-year-old Sergio Tu is flying the flag of Taiwan within Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, taking over from his compatriot Chun-kai Feng, who is almost ten years older and who will compete in the Asia Tour for the MERIDA-equipped Japanese team Utsunomiya Blitzen.
The 2023 roster of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS features 28 riders and can be found on the team's website.
Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS’ team bikes continue to stand out from the crowd thanks to the eye-catching colour design dominated by various shades of red and some blue, reflecting the national colours of the kingdom of Bahrain. Furthermore, the entire team bike arsenal, including the TIME-WARP TT DISC time trial bike, benefits from disc-brake technology, enabling pinpoint braking and modulation in any race situation. With an ever-improving mixture of time trial, sprint and climbing specialists in the team, we are greatly looking forward to seeing how our three bikes perform throughout the season. And as Matej Mohoric's 2022 victory at the Milano – Sanremo classic has shown, MERIDA continues to closely cooperate with the team to optimise their equipment further and give the riders a competitive advantage.
To give the riders detailed and accurate information about their performance, the team has selected the latest generation Shimano Dura-Ace R9200-P power meters. On top of that, the team chooses to use the 9250 Dura-Ace Di2 series groupset, including electronically actuated shifting and hydraulic disc brakes. The latest Di2 version works semi-wirelessly, and the frames of our team bikes have been optimised around this system.
Regarding wheels, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS trusts in the latest generation of Vision's superb METRON SL Disc wheel series, which were further improved in terms of rim shape and carbon structure. The METRON SL 40 Disc wheels are the first choice for days with plenty of climbing due to their weight of less than 1.25 kg per set. Sprinters and breakaway racers will opt for the METRON SL 60 Disc with a more deep-section rim-profile, offering an improved aero-performance and slightly higher stiffness at full-gas sprinting with somewhat trickier handling in heavy crosswinds as a trade-off. All wheels used by the team are hand-built, trued in Italy and spin on low-resistance ceramic bearings.
The 2021 season saw the team’s gradual switch from tubular to tubeless wheels, an experiment that has been a complete success and has allowed the riders to profit from increased traction and puncture protection without a trade-off in rolling resistance.
Only the best will do when it comes to tyres, so Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS continues to use Continental's GP5000S TR tyres for the 2023 season. Available in widths ranging from 25 to 32 mm, these tubeless-ready tyres combine ultimate grip, super-fast rolling speeds and high puncture resistance. FSA and Vision will carry on supplying the cockpits and seat posts with the team using the one-piece Vision METRON stem/handlebar combos, which offer superior aerodynamic performance and improve sprint stiffness during sprints. Vision is also the supplying partner for the one-piece METRON TT time trial cockpits and offers specific, 3D shaped handlebar extensions for the team leaders.
Finally, saddles are supplied by Prologo – all with carbon rails and carbon shells. Riders can choose between the PAS system (with a central recess) and closed-shell designs, plus they can also use Prologo's unique CPC anti-friction system on the covers. The brand-new Scratch M5 saddle will also be provided, offering a compact option that delivers a higher level of comfort and an impressive weight of just 140 grams.