The Bahrain-Merida team have confirmed the signing of young German sprinter Phil Bauhaus and veteran compatriot Marcel Sieberg - both on two-year deals - as they continue to expand their roster for 2019.
Bauhaus, 24, will move to Bahrain-Merida after two seasons at Team Sunweb. He won a stage at the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné and a stage at this year’s Abu Dhabi Tour, beating fellow Germans Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Bahrain-Merida have Sonny Colbrelli and Niccolo Bonifazio as current sprint options, the latter of whom is out of contract at the end of this year.
"Phil is a rider whom we at team Bahrain Merida consider one of the most promising sprinters in the professional peloton," said general manager Brent Copeland.
"He is a rider that we have been considering closely for the past year and, therefore, we have put a lot of time investment to make this decision as we truly feel his future as a sprinter is something that will surprise the professional cycling world in the near future. We welcome him to the team and looking forward to a strong and good future together."
Bauhaus added: "I’m really looking forward to join Team Bahrain-Merida and I already feel that they believe in me with the project we are planning together. Together we can have successful years."
Sieberg will team up with Bauhaus after dedicating much of his career to helping André Greipel. The 36 year-old rode with Greipel at both HTC and Lotto Soudal, protecting and helping him in sprint lead outs as well as riding the same Classics campaign. Greipel confirmed he will move to French Professional Continental Fortuneo-Samsic after talks with Lotto Soudal broke down. Caleb Ewan is expected to replace Greipel as Lotto Soudal’s lead sprinter next season.
Sieberg has been a professional since 2005, riding for smaller German teams before joining Milram and then Team Columbia, which became HTC in 2010. He joined Lotto in 2011. Sieberg has won just two minor races in his career but has played a key role in many of Greipel’s 153 career victories.
"Having Marcel as part of team Bahrain-Merida means bringing the wealth of experience, both on and off the bike. He is a rider who can bring an incredible amount of knowledge to the younger riders on the team," said Copeland.
"His presence is something we are counting on immensely, especially for the lead out train for Phil Bauhaus, as we believe in his experience, has been a crucial part of this area on the team. Marcel has worked with the best riders in the world and we rate him as one of, if not the best, lead out rider for a sprint train, we are definitely excited about getting this work relationship going."
Sieberg added: "I‘m really looking forward to the next two years. It’s like a new beginning for me. Team Bahrain Merida is a great team with a lot of potential and I hope that I can help to make the team successful with my abilities."
The arrival of Bauhaus and Sieberg at Bahrain-Merida comes after the team confirmed the signing of 2017 Tour de Pologne winner Dylan Teuns. They are also expected to sign Rohan Dennis and Damiano Caruso from BMC Racing, giving the team a second Grand Tour leader alongside Vincenzo Nibali.
Bahrain-Merida missed out on signing cyclo-cross world champion and cobbled Classics contender Wout van Aert for 2020 but are one of the most active teams in the transfer market. They are also building for the future and signed promising young British rider Stevie Williams, who won the Ronde de l'Isard stage race in the French Pyrenees and finished fifth at the under 23 Giro d’Italia. Williams will also ride as a stagiaire in selected races this season.
Nibali crashed out of the Tour de France on the stage to L’Alpe d’ Huez, fracturing a vertebra in his back but, after recent vertebroplasty surgery, he is expected to lead the team at the Vuelta a España.
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