The Bahrain-Merida team has confirmed that Team Sky Performance Director Rod Ellingworth will join them as Team Principal at the start of October. Current General Manager, Brent Copeland will remain in his current role and will work alongside Ellingworth.
In April, Cyclingnews reported that Bahrain-Merida were seeking to bring Ellingworth over from Team Sky. A day later, Sky confirmed that Ellingworth would be leaving them for Bahrain-Merida at the end of the 2019 season, but Bahrain-Merida had not made any official comment on the subject until now.
Ellingworth has worked with Team Sky since their creation in 2010, playing a part in their Tour de France victories, and also taking on several roles British Cycling, where he left his position as the men's national team coach at March 2018.
"I'm delighted to be joining Team Bahrain-Merida as Team Principal. Since the team's breakthrough season in 2017, I've been impressed by its competitiveness," Ellingworth said in a team press release. "McLaren's co-ownership of the team now provides a unique opportunity to look at every area of performance with a fresh perspective – and I find this massively appealing. I'm also excited by the opportunity to bring my own knowledge and ideas to the team and can't wait to get stuck in."
Cyclingnews understands that it was motorsport company McLaren that approached Ellingworth about the role, with discussions going on for several months. McLaren joined forces with Bahrain-Merida at the start of the year and are due to become the team's co-sponsor for the 2020 season.
"Rod's appointment as Team Principal of Team Bahrain-Merida underscores our determination to succeed at the top level of this great sport," said McLaren Pro Cycling Managing Director John Allert. “His remarkable track record, coupled with the respect he has earned throughout the cycling community, make Rod the perfect leader for this next chapter in the team's development. Despite his abundant experience, Rod's voracious appetite for new knowledge and innovative approaches to traditional challenges perfectly complements the team ethos. We are delighted to welcome him to the team."
Prior to his official appointment, the team states that Ellingworth will be working on their leadership plan for 2020.