The newly formed Bahrain-Merida team continues to take shape with Spaniard Ivan Garcia Cortina announced as its 13th signing for the 2017 season and beyond. The 20-year-old has spent the last two seasons with the Etixx-QuickStep feeder team and is currently riding with the Belgian WorldTour team as a stagiaire until the end of the 2016 season. Garcia Cortina has signed a two-year deal with Bahrain-Merida.
Garcia Cortina recently made an impression at the 2016 Tour de l'Avenir with top-ten results on the first two stages having recorded several top results across the season including tenth at the U23 Paris-Roubaix and won a stage of the Course Cycliste de Solidarnosc et des Champions Olympiques in July. His performance at the Czech Cycling Tour also caught the attention of Bahrain Merida general manager Brent Copeland who explained Garcia Cortina has proven over the season that he can handle various terrains and racing scenarios and sees him as rider for the future with great potential.
"It's very exciting to have a Spanish cyclist on team BAHRAIN MERIDA, once again showing the internationality that we investing into the team, we started taking a close look at Iván when he had some really good results at the Czech tour where he got three top ten standings, for a stagiere this was something that showed his quality, his consistent results at the Tour de l'Avenir were just as impressive," Copeland said. "The thing that we liked the most about Iván is his consistency in the team time trials he took part in, this is an important part of todays cycling where Iván will definitely be a big asset to the team, at a very young age of twenty we are wanting Iván to learn slowly and we will help him grow into the pro cyclist he deserves to be."
Garcia Contina added that the opportunity to join a team led by Vincenzo Nibali was too good to turn down and is excited to be starting his professional career with the four time grand tour winner.
"I'm so happy to join this new team for the next two years," Carcia Cortina said. "It's a great opportunity for me and to increase my experience riding with such champion and superstar like Vincenzo Nibali. I'm looking forward for the first training camp to meet and know my new team--mates. With some of them I raced sometimes, like Gasparotto, winner of the last Amstel Gold Race, he too is a great rider. It will be nice to be in the same team with these guys".
Along with Nibali and Enrico Gasparotto, Bahrain Merida have also signed Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Dimension Data), Borut Bozic (Cofidis), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida), Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling), Grega Bole (Nippo Fantini), Chun Kai Feng (Lampre-Merida) and Niccolò Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) with further announcements expected in the coming weeks and months.