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Ex-head of performance at Team Sky will lead team co-owned by McLaren

Former Team Sky per performance manager Rod Ellingworth is to become team principal at Bahrain-Merida with effect from 1 October this year.

The 46-year-old, who was also instrumental in setting up the British Cycling Academy in Italy and masterminded the road world championship victory in 2011 of one of his former charges there, Mark Cavendish, is currently on gardening leave.

However, prior to formally taking up his new role in the autumn, he will work with the team, a joint venture between Bahrain World Tour Cycling and McLaren, to plan for the 2020 season and beyond.

He said: “I’m delighted to be joining Team Bahrain-Merida as team principal. Since the team’s break-through season in 2017, I’ve been impressed by its competitiveness.

“McLaren’s co-ownership of the team now provides a unique opportunity to look at every area of performance with a fresh perspective – and I find this massively appealing.

“I’m also excited by the opportunity to bring my own knowledge and ideas to the team and can’t wait to get stuck in.”

John Allert, managing director of McLaren Pro Cycling, commented: “Rod’s appointment as team principal of Team Bahrain-Merida underscores our determination to succeed at the top level of this great sport.

“His remarkable track record, coupled with the respect he has earned throughout the cycling community, make Rod the perfect leader for this next chapter in the team’s development.

“Despite his abundant experience, Rod’s voracious appetite for new knowledge and innovative approaches to traditional challenges perfectly complements the team ethos. We are delighted to welcome him to the team.”

Ellingworth will formally take up his new role less than a fortnight before the final Monument of the year, Il Lombardia, a racethat Bahrain-Merida’s star rider, Vincenzo Nibali, has won twice.

The Italian is already confirmed as moving to Trek-Segafredo next year and is likely to take some key support riders and staff with him, resulting in a reshaping of the squad in the months ahead under its new team principal.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.