Official press conference of BAHRAIN MERIDA Team during training camp on Hvar in Croatia
December 14th 2017 – “First word that comes to my mind when I hear BAHRAIN MERIDA is FAMILY,” said Vincenzo Nibali at today’s press conference that was held in picotersque city Hvar, on the island of Hvar, where most of BAHRAIN MERIDA staff and athletes are gathered for the last training camp before the new season.
At the beginning of the conference, Vladimir Miholjević, sports director and coordinator of this training camp, welcomed everybody and expressed gratitude to The City of Hvar and Sunčani Hvar Hotels, partners that contributed a lot to the organization of this training camp and without which the execution of a training camp on such high level would be a lot more difficult. He emphasized that the island of Hvar with its perfect natural conditions and infrastructure for cycling proved to be an excellent choice for the training camp. He added that another reason, why they chose the island, was the fact that team’s sports director, Paolo Slongo, has a friend from this beautiful island who is ex cyclists and the idea started with him and Paolo. On behalf of the whole team he also thanked Sunčani Hvar Hotels for offering everything that the team needed to carry out all the scheduled activities.
Mayor of Hvar, Mr. Rikardo Novak, thanked the team for choosing Hvar and said that it is a great honor to host the UCI world cycling team, BAHRAIN MERIDA, especially since quite a lot of members come also from this region. Next year will be the 150th anniversary of tourism development on Hvar and representatives of Hvar Tourist Board and Split-Dalmatia County added that such events contribute to the image of the destination as perfect for active tourism, which has been one part of the vision for tourism development of the island Hvar and the whole Split-Dalmatia County. Also representative of Sunčani Hvar Hotels expressed pleasure to host BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team in Hotel Pharos that is formally branded as bike hotel.
The second part of the press conference was focused on BAHRAIN MERIDA Team and the season that is ahead. Brent Copeland, the general manager of the team, first commented the previous season and said that the goal of the first year was to build the team image and organize everything. But because the team has such an amazing staff, also many other goals and good results were achieved. He also announced a new jersey for season 2018, which was presented on stage by Sonny Colbrelli. The jersey is mostly red and the team’s logo is in gold and MERIDA in white. He also concluded that the goals for 2018 are even higher, but with a well-prepared team, that BAHRAIN MERIDA most certainly is, easily achievable.
Gorazd Štangelj, head of Sports Directors, presented six new riders who joined BAHRAIN MERIDA Team for the new season: Domenico Pozzovivo, Mark Padun, Gorka Izagirre, Matej Mohorič, Kristijan Koren and Hermann Pernsteiner. This training camp was a great opportunity for the new riders to meet the whole team, together with staff, and spend some free days together with new teammates to connect before the new season. Štangelj also commented one of the hot topics on the scene – Nibali’s decision to go on Tour de France. Vincenzo explained that the strategy of the team was that first year he will do Giro d’Italia and second year Tour de France. The decision was easier because the route is suitable for him because of the hard stages, and that time trials are shorter what fits him more. Štangelj also said that the leader on Giro d’Italia will be Domenico Pozzovivo, who will also help Vincenzo Nibali on Tour de France.
Also BAHRAIN MERIDA riders joined the staff on stage. Vincenzo Nibali said that BAHRAIN MERIDA is like a family to him and that he feels great and ready for the new season. Ion Izagirre also confirmed that he is in a top condition, that he has no pain and he is 100 % ready for the new season. Domenico Pozzovivo expressed his excitement, which is even greater because he hasn’t switched many teams in his career so far. He added that he has high personal goals but that he also wants to help the team and especially Vincenzo Nibali as much as he can. Heinrich Haussler, a rider with strong experience in classic races, said that he has high ambitions for this type of races and that he will help mostly Sonny for whom he believes has high potential also in classic races.
BAHRAIN MERIDA Team is definitely ready to face the challenges of the new season and they are already looking forward to the Tour Down Under in the middle of January in Australia.
Photo credits: BettiniPhoto