Team Bahrain McLAREN makes its debut at the Santos Tour Down Under

January 9th, 2020 – Finally, the wait is over. Team Bahrain McLaren lines up for its first UCI WorldTour race at the Santos Tour Down Under. This is a proud moment for the team and our partners, and we are delighted that it takes place at one of the most loved and respected races on the calendar. We look forward to seeing our colours going wheel-to-wheel in the pro peloton and meeting our fans.

In 2008 the Santos Tour Down Under became the first race outside of Europe to receive prestigious UCI WorldTour status -guaranteeing the world’s best elite teams would make their way to Adelaide. The first edition was held in 1999 and the Santos Tour Down Under is now the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere. 

For the team that was originally conceived by His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa,

and competed as Team Bahrain Merida from 2017, a new era begins in South Australia. Firstly, the riders and staff will attend training under the direction of the Team Principal, Rod Ellingworth, then line up on January 19th for their first official race – the ‘Schwalbe Classic’ – the opening criterium of the 2020 WorldTour Season , followed by the Santos Tour Down Under from the 21st – 26th January.

Team Bahrain McLaren is a joint venture between Bahrain World Tour Cycling Team and British luxury automotive, racing and technology leader McLaren. It is a team built for tomorrow with a great respect for the traditions of the past. Innovation and leadership are two strong principles that will guide the team in the next few years and also at their debut in Australia.

John Allert, Executive Director

“Thirty-five years ago I watched McLaren’s iconic F1 cars race around the streets of Adelaide. To now be returning to my home-town for the debut of Team Bahrain McLaren at the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under – racing on two wheels instead of four – is a particularly special moment for me. Team Bahrain McLaren is the product of the efforts of many people, united by a vision to combine passion and technology to perform at the top level of elite pro cycling. Our journey as a new team starts in a city that is passionate about cycling – and particularly following the tragic fires of the last month we hope we can bring Australian sports fans something to celebrate.”

Rod Ellingworth, Team Principal:

“Cycling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, so arriving in Adelaide for the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under as the Team Principal of Team Bahrain McLaren, on the UCI WorldTour is an absolute privilege. But this is a team sport, that’s ultimately about the guys out there on the road.  I and the rest of the support team are here to help the riders achieve the highest standard possible. This year will also be about learning the strengths of our riders, and working to bring technology and new techniques to the sport I love. The whole team can’t wait to get stuck in – in Adelaide and beyond.”

Tristan Hoffman, Sports Director:

“The Santos Tour Down Under 2020 presents a really nice course. Our leader Rafael Valls Ferri worked hard in the winter and is in great shape. Santiago Buitrago and Hermann Pernsteiner are always there to support Rafael, but also ready to take their chance. With Yukiya Arashiro, Marco Haller, Luka Pibernik and Domen Novak, we bring a lot of experience and horse power to help the leaders. 

A top 10 would be the main goal for Rafael and with Santiago and Hermann as strong climbers we could score highly in the team classification. 

Let me also express my excitement, that I have a privilege to be a Sports Direcor at our debut and share this moment, presenting our new name and jersey with all my assistants and staff members at the upcoming Santos Tour Down Under 2020.” 

Rafael Valls Ferri:

“I’m really excited to start the new season with the new team in Australia. It’s a race that I know very well because this will be the 6th time I race it. My motivation is high; I’ve been training hard through the autumn and winter and I expect a good race. I would also like to mention that I feel really sad because of the catastrophic fires in Australia and I truly hope that the situation improves for everyone very soon.”

Through McLaren and the Kingdom of Bahrain, we have the opportunity to bring a new perspective from outside the sport and challenge the status quo. McLaren is no stranger to speed and success on the tarmac with over 50 years at the heart of Formula 1, which has inspired cutting edge innovation that has been applied to its world-leading automotive business and beyond. Bahrain is emerging as an innovation hub for global technology firms, and is also investing significantly in a series of sporting initiatives which aim to promote wellbeing, community and inspire the athletes of tomorrow. This ambition and belief make Team Bahrain McLaren an exciting new chapter for McLaren, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the sport we love – cycling.

Team Bahrain McLaren, together with our partners, will inspire riders and fans through its passion for the sport and the wonder of innovation. Welcome to Team Bahrain McLaren.

Team Bahrain McLaren lineup for Santos Tour Down Under 2020:

Marco Haller / Yukiya Arashiro / Santiago Buitrago / Domen Novak / Hermann Pernsteiner / Luka Pibernik / Rafael Valls Ferri

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