The peloton will be even more international in 2021 as Ahmed Madan becomes the first Bahraini rider at WorldTour level, signing a first professional contract with Bahrain Victorious.
The team, who will lose co-title sponsor McLaren in 2021, have been looking to develop homegrown talent since they started out in 2017.
Madan has raced for the national team since 2018 and he has since joined the Bahrain Cycling Academy squad set up by Bahrain Victorious founder Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
At 20 years of age, he has been deemed ready to make the step up and help represent Bahrain at the top level of the sport.
"Ahmed came to the cycling scene through group rides and mountain biking, but he started to show his talent once he started road racing. His first official camp with the national team was in Turkey where he quickly showed his potential. His passion for cycling is his biggest asset because it drives him to put in the necessary training to reach the top," said Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
"Last season he raced with Bahrain Cycling Academy on the UCI continental circuit. Making the step-up to the UCI WorldTour is a big feat as Ahmed is the first Bahraini rider to join the elite riders of the cycling world. Ahmed will hopefully lead a new wave of Bahrain cyclists that can compete at the highest level and bring success to cycling in the Kingdom."
Madan is the team's fourth signing for 2021 after a pandemic-hit season that led to McLaren withdrawing its backing and the team rebadging as Bahrain Victorious. The upheaval has been compounded by the departure of manager Rod Ellingworth, who will return to Team Ineos.
Madan follows Jack Haig from Mitchelton-Scott, Gino Mader from NTT, and neo-pro Jonathan Milan, while Mark Cavendish, Ivan García Cortina and Enrico Battaglin are among those leaving. He is the 28th rider on the roster for 2021.
"Firstly, I’d like to thank His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has given all young Bahraini cyclists a path to compete in this amazing sport. I’m excited about signing for the team, and I want to work hard to make Bahrain proud," Madan said
"This is an opportunity for me to take my cycling to the next level and learn from some of the best cyclists in the world."
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