Team Bahrain Victorious have announced their 2021 name and race kit. The announcement comes after a period of instability and uncertainty at the team that saw McLaren step down as the team's secondary sponsor and Team Principal Rod Ellingworth leave after just 18 months in the role.
According to a press release sent out on Monday the team name and new kit are part of "of a change in its strategic direction." Italian brand Nalini has come on board as the kit supplier with Le Col no longer working with the team.
The team from the Gulf had huge plans coming into the 2020 season, with their hopes pinned on Mikel Landa at the Tour de France. Investment from McLaren was supposed to help improve the roster over the coming season as the squad looked to challenge for major honours but the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the team's financial stability.
The McLaren business was forced to shut down car manufacturing with over 1,000 staff made redundant. Staff and riders on the cycling team were forced to take up to 70 per cent wage deferrals during the spring, while Jack Haig was the only high-profile rider signed over the summer months.
In December, Cyclingnews broke the story of Ellingworth's departure from the team with the former coach heading back to Ineos Grenadiers after less than two years away from the team.
The team were unable to find a replacement sponsor for McLaren, while it's understood that a second member of the team's senior management John Allert – the current director – will leave at the end of this season. The departure of Allert and Ellingworth leaves just Milan Erzen in charge of running the team, although it's expected that current sports director, Vladimir Miholjevic, will step up and take greater responsibility.
Without a secondary sponsor, the team will be financed by their founder Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who created the WorldTour team in 2016.
“Cycling is one of the most challenging sports which requires dedication, discipline and perseverance. It’s these values that are needed to take on endurance sports which are capable of promoting a better lifestyle for all. Team Bahrain Victorious will reflect our vision for building a performance-first team that aims to inspire and win at the highest level," he said in a press release.
The new jersey includes a logo for Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) which is the national oil company of Bahrain. Merida remains as the team's bike supplier for 2021 and has been with the team since their first season.
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