The Hagens Berman Axeon team will race on Pinarello bikes for the next two seasons, the Italian manufacturer announced on Friday. The Pro Continental squad raced on Specialized bikes since Axel Merckx's team transitioned from Trek in 2015.
Cicli Pinarello SRL said it has been "overly impressed" by the team and promised, "maximum support to try to collect numerous and prestigious successes even at a youth level". The Hagens Berman Axeon riders will compete on the Dogma F10 disc version for road races and the Bolide for time trials.
Merckx's teams have been prolific feeders of talent to the WorldTour. Since he began the programme as Trek-Livestrong in 2009, 31 of Merckx's riders have earned WorldTour contracts.
"We have always supported the new generations, so the proposal made by Axel Merckx was welcomed with great pleasure, as we will always offer our maximum technology and experience to help them achieve their goals," said Fausto Pinarello, the CEO and son of founder Giovani Pinarello.
The team has retained U23 world time trial champion Mikkel Bjerg and replaced five riders who graduated to the WorldTour with fresh talent in the form of Americans Sean Quinn, Kevin Vermaerke, and Liam Holowesko, in addition to Karel Vacek, Jakob Egholm and Andre Carvalho.
"We are very excited to work with Pinarello, one of the most legendary brands in the rich history of cycling," Merckx said. "They bring so much to the table, and will allow our team to utilize the very best equipment and technology needed to develop the best young riders in the world while continuing to win races."