Bahrain-Merida has confirmed Austrian Hermann Pernsteiner will join the WorldTour team from 2018. Pernsteiner, a mountain biker, joined Continental team Amplatz BMC last year and has remained with the squad this season.
Pernsteiner's notable results in 2017 included second at Tour d'Azerbaïdjan, sixth at the Tour of Slovenia, and 12th at the Tour of Austria.
Pernsteiner follows in the footsteps of Ondrej Cink in moving from the mountain bike to the WorldTour with Bahrain-Merida and is also targeting hilly stages races.
"I am really happy and pleased that I will start my professional road career with Bahrain-Merida Team," said Pernsteiner. "It is one of the best teams in the world, with big names in it. It is a big step in my career. The team is a very young one with a great future ahead. I am highly motivated for my debut in Bahrain-Merida jersey. As a climber, I think I can help the team in the mountains and on stage races. I also want to develop further on the physical and tactical field to accomplish better results for Bahrain-Merida in the future."
Bahrain-Merida general manager Brent Copeland explained the team has prided itself on providing an avenue to the top third of the sports and believes its trust placed in Pernsteiner will be repaid.
"Giving an opportunity to a talented cyclist such as Hermann is something we at Bahrain-Merida take a lot of pride in, Hermann has so far mainly shown his talent on the MTB however we believe he has a huge amount of margin to improve on the road, we have been keeping a close eye on him since our coaching staff did some physiological tests on him earlier in the year, we were very pleasantly surprised with the results, our immediate thought was what he could do on the road with such impressive results and decided to give him this opportunity, we then saw he got two top 10 placings in GC standings which proved to back up what our coaching staff had told us, we very excited to see Hermann riding in our colours next year and can’t wait to see him showing us what his pure climbing talent can do in the mountains, we welcome him to the team and are confident he will show the road cycling world what he has already shown the MTB world," said Copeland.
The team also announced the signings of Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Matej Mohorič (UAE Team Emirates), and Kristijan Koren (Cannondale-Drapac) from the 2018 season.
Haussler impresses in Hamburg on long awaited return to racing
With injury limiting his season to just the six race days of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, Heinrich Haussler told Cyclingnews that the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg could make or break his career. In a revealing interview, the former Australian road champion was definitive when explaining the importance of a result at the one-day WorldTour race.
The 33-year-old was working for Sonny Colbrelli and Niccolo Bonifazio and after 220km of racing, Haussler finished in 15th place with his second best result at the race after his seventh in 2012.
"The Hamburg race was, as always, stressful and wet and the problem is that many of the riders have lots of energy and various tactics. Sonny and Grega had big, great attack on the last climb," said Haussler. "It is good to see Sonny already so strong after altitude training and we tried with Niccolo in the sprint as well. We came from behind, but we were both a little bit blocked. It was a good teamwork but as you see from the results it surely wasn't our maximum. We will all try again next weekend at the next race."
Haussler's next race is the French one-day GP Ouest France-Plouay race where he has finished third before.
Two-year extension at QuickStep-Floors for Tim Declercq
Belgian Tim Declercq joined QuickStep-Floors for the 2017 season on a one-year deal after five years with Topsport Vlaanderen and has quickly impressed the team with a two-year contract extension forthcoming as a result. The 28-year-old has bolstered the classics squad and also become an important rider in stage races.
"When I was younger I used to dream about racing with Quick-Step Floors, so when Patrick contacted me last year and offered a contract it really was a dream come true," said the 1.9 metre tall Declercq. "Extending my agreement for two more years feels amazing. The team is pleased with my work and I am very happy with my role here and with everybody around the team; you have that good feeling atmosphere where everybody knows each other, which makes you feel at home and generates success in one-day races and Grand Tours."
Declercq is currently making his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España where team CEO Patrick Lefevere is on the ground. The team boss is busy securing his riders for the upcoming seasons, explaining Declercq has quickly become a key rider for QuickStep-Floors.
"Since joining us, Tim has added power to our squad, especially in the northern classics, and proved he's a truly selfless team player, who works hard and relentlessly for his leaders," said Lefevere. "Considering all these points, but also the fact that we share the same values and mentality, it was logical to continue this partnership that worked so well this year beyond 2017."
Ayden Toovey earns Stagiaire ride with Trek-Segafredo
Australian Ayden Toovey has been selected by Trek-Segafredo as a stagiaire for the remainder of the 2017 season. The 21-year-old has ridden with the Continental NSW Institute of Sport team this year, racing in Australia and in American at races such as Saint Francis Tulsa Tough and North Star Grand Prix.
Toovey makes his debut with Trek-Segafredo at the 2.1 Tour du Poitou Charentes race in France from Tuesday, August 22. The former motocross rider and triathlete only started racing at age 17 and has quickly impressed in the sport with numerous results in the National Road Series (NRS) including second place at the Melbourne to Warrnambool.