The Merida Ride Lite 88 is a surprisingly agile starter bike for riders who like a tall front end, but it's let down slightly by limited toe clearance at the front wheel.
Bikes like the pros ride (but slightly more affordable*) from Bianchi, Merida, Focus, Lapierre, Scott and BMC
The Merida Scultura SL Team is the bike that Team Lampre-Merida are racing on in 2013, and it's an outstanding ride. Light, stiff, comfy and super fast, it'll be a force to be reckoned with on the WorldTour this year. If the price has you running for the hills, there are much cheaper Scultura models in the range too.