The team represents Bahrain, an oil-rich country on the Persian Gulf looking for a place on the global sport scene, under the initiative of Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The 31-year-old occasional triathlete is the son of the king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the president of the national Olympic Committee, the commander of the Royal Guard and the owner of a cycling team backed by a consortium of Bahraini companies in a partnership with Taiwanese bicycle maker Merida.
Bahrain-Merida's Tour debut was a big flop, with leader Ion Izagirre crashing out of the race during the prologue in Düsseldorf, while Vincenzo Nibali chose to concentrate on the 100th Giro d'Italia for the first season of the team in the pro peloton, finishing third. The arrivals of Ion's brother Gorka, Domenico Pozzovivo (fifth in the 2018 Giro) and young Slovenian Matej Mohorič (a stage winner in the 2017 Vuelta and 2018 Giro) have consolidated the strength of the team, especially the core around Nibali, who has made the Tour de France his main goal of the season.
In the wake of his victory in the Giro di Lombardia in autumn, the Shark of the Strait smashed expectations by claiming a prestigious win in Milan–San Remo last spring. The 33-year-old rider could be looking at his last great opportunity to add a second Tour de France to his resume.
Overall wins : 0
Stage wins : 0
Secondary classification wins : 0
Yellow jerseys : 0
10: the number of times Vincenzo Nibali has finished on the podium of a Grand Tour, including an overall win in the Tour de France (2014), another in the Vuelta (2010) and two in the Giro (2013 and 2016).
24 July 2015: Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa spends a day at the Tour de France and sees Vincenzo Nibali triumph at La Toussuire–Les Sybelles six months after going out for a ride together before the Dubai Tour.
7 October 2017: one month after taking the runner-up's spot in the Vuelta, Vincenzo Nibali prevails in the Giro di Lombardia and gives Bahrain-Merida its first victory in a major classic.
17 March 2018: Vincenzo Nibali wins Milan–San Remo.
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