The amateur Italian Team Colpack will become the official development squad for Bahrain-Merida, the team has announced. The deal strengthens Bahrain-Merida’s ties with Italy, with nine Italian riders, including Vincenzo Nibali, riding for the senior team.
"The Team Colpack is a team that for so many years has been working with young people and knows how to make them grow in a professional way and in the right environment,” said rider agent Alex Carera, who is also the Business and Marketing Manager for the Bahrain-Merida squad. “For us and Merida, it is essential to have a development team in which to nurture talent, and we have decided to promote this project.”
The Colpack team, which was founded in 2011, has helped kick off the careers of a number of professional riders including Josh Edmondson, Davide Villella, Edoardo Zardini, Gianfranco Zilioli and up and coming rider Filippo Ganna, who will ride for UAE Abu Dhabi this season.
"We can only be happy and honoured that an important and ambitious team such as Bahrain Merida has chosen to collaborate with our company that aims to develop young people in the right way, before casting them in the world of the professional," said Colpack team manager Antonio Bevilacqua.
Bahrain-Merida was founded by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa last year and made their racing debut at the Tour Down Under. Nibali will be the team’s general classification leader and will target the Giro d’Italia in 2017. The team is managed by former Lampre-Merida manager Brent Copeland, who says that the deal will help develop both Italian and Asian talent.
"This is an important project, and for us to work with a strong team like Colpack is an honour as well as a guarantee,” said Copeland. “We want to develop young people, especially to prepare for the leap into professionalism. In the future, it will also be crucial to have this development team in Europe to give the opportunity to foster young Asian talent and Bahraini.
“We found Antonio Bevilacqua and his team to be in full cooperation [with this idea], and so we look forward to discovering a few good riders also from that part of the world.”