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Arashiro signs for Bahrain Merida

Yukiya Arashiro has signed for the Bahrain Merida team for the 2017 season. The Japanese rider follows Lampre-Merida manager Brent Copeland to the new squad, which enters the professional peloton next year and will be led by Vincenzo Nibali.

Arashiro arrived at Lampre-Merida at the beginning of this season after spending the first seven years of his professional career at Jean-René Bernaudeau's Europcar outfit (previously Bouygues Telecom).

Despite breaking his femur during a crash at the Tour of Qatar, his first race in Lampre colours, Arashiro returned to win a stage of the Tour of Japan in June and then completed both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España.

"Only this year for example what amazed me with Yukiya was his comeback from a broken femur when he crashed during the beginning of the season," Copeland said. "Within a very short time he was back to training and within only a few months he was back racing. This was a great example of a true professional and a determined athlete."

In 2009, Arashiro and his fellow countryman Fumiyuku Beppu became the first Japanese riders to complete the Tour de France. A rapid finisher in his own right, Arashiro will also be able to complement fast men in the Bahrain Merida line-up such as Heinrich Haussler and Sonny Colbrelli.

"His constant results also show the type of rider he is, where is always doing the extra work to do his best as well as a great team mate who is always willing to help where needed," Copeland said, adding: "Having a rider from Japan is of great importance to the team and we are very pleased to see Yukiya in the Bahrain Merida clothing next year."

The 31-year-old Arashiro was Asian champion in 2011 and has twice been Japanese national champion. The Okinawa native also won the Tour du Limousin in 2012 and placed 9th at the 2010 Worlds in Melbourne.

Arashiro is the 15th rider to have signed with Bahrain Merida for its inaugural season, joining Nibali, Giovanni Visconti, Enrico Gasparotto and Niccolò Bonifazio in the line-up.

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