Vincenzo Nibali has been confirmed as Bahrain Merida's first signing for the 2017 season. The newly-formed team announced their intention to race at the highest level earlier this week, and confirmed Merida as their bike supplier and co-sponsor.
Nibali has been linked to the team for several months, and the two-time Giro d'Italia winner – currently at the Olympic Games – moves from Astana where he has ridden since 2013.
"I was immediately fascinated by the idea of a strong project plan built around me. I have believed in the team from day one, because it has a clear vision and is to be carried out by some of the best professionals in the sport," Nibali said in a statement issued by the team.
"This trust and confidence in me made me take the final decision for this new exiting adventure of my career. I can't wait to meet their expectations at the most important races in the world wearing the jersey of Bahrain Merida."
Nibali, 31, has won all three Grand Tours during his career, claiming the Tour de France crown in 2014. After winning the Giro d'Italia this spring he used the Tour de France as part of his preparations for the Olympic Games.