Vincenzo Nibali will make his Bahrain-Merida racing debut at the Vuelta a San Juan, January 23-29, alongside Tom Boonen, Bauke Mollema and Fernando Gaviria. In total, four WorldTour teams – Trek-Segafredo, Bahrain-Merida, Quick-Step and TJ Sport – are set to compete in the Argentine race, although the future of TJ Sport has not yet been secured with the Chinese team still waiting on a UCI licence.
2017 will mark the 35th edition of the Vuelta a San Juan, but it will be the first time such an international field has arrived. Bernard Hinault famously took part in the race in 1982 before going on to win the Tour de France.
Nibali is certainly no stranger to racing in Argentina having used the now defunct Tour de San Luis as part of his new year racing programme in previous seasons. The same came be said for both Tom Boonen and Gaviria, the latter who burst onto the scene in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis when he beat Mark Cavendish in a sprint.
Nibali will be using the race to kick start his preparation for the Giro d'Italia, a race his is looking to win for the third time in his career.
Mollema, who will also ride the Giro d'Italia next spring, will lead Trek-Segafredo while his new teammate Alberto Contador makes his 2017 debut in Europe later in the New Year. Mollema will be joined by the fast-finishing Giacomo Nizzolo.
Should the TJ Sport team go ahead, they can expect to send a strong squad to the race with former World Champion Rui Costa, Darwin Atapuma and Andrea Guardini on their roster.
The race will be held over 891 kilometres, and spread over seven stages. Bardiani-CSF, UnitedHealthcare, Nippo-Fantini, Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Androni Giocattoli are the ProContinental teams set to take part in the race.
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