BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team’s debut at the Santos Tour Down Under
Thursday, 12th January 2017 – Everything is prepared for the official debut of BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team on the Australian roads. Riders, that were selected for this first race, under the leadership of sports director Philippe Mauduit, are two Italians, Niccolò Bonifazio and Giovanni Visconti, Japanese Yukiya Arashiro, Czech Ondrej Cink, Taiwanese Feng Chun-kai, Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay and Slovenian Janez Brajkovic.
On Sunday 15th, on the People’s Choice Classic, 50 km Criterium on the streets of Adelaide, in front of a usually big audience, the BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team, led by Philippe Mauduit will begin its story in the world of pro cycling. On Tuesday 17th, two days after this opening part, the 19th Santos Tour Down Under will kick off. A race, often marked with tough conditions of great heat, has six stages, suited to the sprinters and breakaway specialists, with the finish at the top of Willunga Hill.
Giovanni Visconti, one of the riders on the Tour Down Under, expressed his excitement before the race: “I am very happy to be here. During my last time here, I broke my leg and spent one week in the hospital, so this time I hope for a better experience. I am really motivated to ride for the new Team. I hope for a good start in the season, because a good beginning is important. Today we went to see the last part of the second stage and I think it won’t be easy. The last 16 kilometres have like 1,200 meters’ climb, so it will be a hard stage for sure. I want to try for the GC. But, if I am not good enough, I will try for the stage.”
Niccolò Bonifazio, his teammate, added: “It’s a new team, it’s a new project and on this first race I will try to win one stage. I read the race book and I think it’s not that hard. I hope to arrive in the finish in good position for the sprint.” He continues to describe the last stage: “Two years ago I finished on 6th place, and I think it’s a good opportunity for the sprinters. I think the last corner is the crucial part of the race.”
Philippe Mauduit, Sports Director that will lead this group of riders in the first race, said: “It’s the first race of the team, of course we want to do well. We are eager to do well. On the other hand, there are many things to do. And because it’s the first race, important thing will be to work as a team, and to find a way to work all together, that’s the first goal for this race. But we have some other goals. Giovanni Visconti can do very well on GC, so we try to protect him on that way. And we also have Niccolò who can be good on the sprint stages. We know that there are very strong sprinters in the race, but we are willing to give him a chance to do something good. But, the most important thing is to work as a team, and to show our jersey in the ProTour. ”
BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team