Rohan Dennis 90 per cent set on move to Bahrain-Merida

Team also set to sign Teunissen, Bauhaus

Cyclingnews has learned that Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), Phil Bauhaus and Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb) are all set to join Bahrain-Merida for the 2019 season.

Several sources have told Cyclingnews that Dennis, currently at BMC Racing Team, is "90 per cent there in negotiations" with the team and is keen to move across. It is unclear if BMC Racing will continue beyond 2018 with no firm sponsorship plans in place. Dennis had a strong Giro d'Italia, winning the individual time trial and wearing the maglia rosa. He finished 16th overall.

Bahrain-Merida have a number of spots to fill for 2019. They entered the sport in 2017 and the majority of their roster signed on two-year deals. Team leader Vincenzo Nibali is set to re-sign with the team but the squad's management are keen to strengthen in other areas. Earlier this year they confirmed that negotiations had taken place with Greg Van Avermaet, with the team looking to secure a Classics specialist. Talks broke down soon after the Ardennes Classics with neither side able to find common ground.

However, the team are also in the market for a time trial specialist and a sprinter. Dennis, 28, fits the bill in the squad's search for a proven rider against the clock, while Bauhaus, 23, is recognized as an up-and-coming sprinter.

Dennis began his WorldTour career with the Garmin-Sharp squad of Jonathan Vaughters but left the team midway through the 2014 season after the team agreed to allow him to break his contract to move to the BMC Racing Team.

The transfer paid off as Dennis helped BMC to the team time trial world championship title that year, and then won the opening time trial of the 2015 Tour de France and held the yellow jersey for a day.

He has since transitioned from winning time trials to chasing the general classification in Grand Tours.

One source told Cyclingnews that a deal with Dennis is "extremely close to being closed" while negotiations with Teunissen are "close to completion". The deal with Bauhaus has gone through, although there are no indications as to the length of the prospective deals.

Cyclingnews contacted Bahrain Merida manager Brent Copeland, who wouldn't confirm the situation. However, Copeland did add that, "Dennis is a rider we've been looking at for a while and he's a rider we'd love to have on the team, but there's nothing to confirm from us."

Dennis' agent could not be reached for comment.

Teunissen, 25, signed for Sunweb from Team LottoNL-Jumbo in 2017 and finished second in Dwars door Vlaanderen earlier this year. He also finished 11th in Paris-Roubaix this season.

Bahrain-Merida have also signed Jan Tratnik from CCC Sprandi Polkowice for 2019.

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