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Mark Cavendish joins Bahrain-Merida

Joe Robinson
25 Oct 2019

Rod Ellingworth and McLaren draw Cavendish on a one-year deal

Mark Cavendish will ride for Bahrain-Merida in 2020 it has been confirmed. The sprinter will join on a one-year deal hoping to kickstart his career after a spate of injury and illness.

The Middle Eastern team confirmed the signing of Cavendish on Friday afternoon, however it had been long rumoured that the 34-year-old would be making the switch.

British motoring company McLaren will be a key sponsor for Bahrain-Merida in 2020 and the brand has previously worked closely with Cavendish, most notably on the development of the Specialized S-Works Venge bike.

This close relationship was also boosted by the fact Rod Ellingworth will be the team's manager for next season. Ellingworth has long worked with Cavendish in the past in both the national team and at Team Sky, a relationship that helped Cavendish make up his mind on the transfer.

'Joining this team is the fulfilment of a long-held ambition for me… and is super exciting and motivating,' Cavendish said. 'You could even say a dream come true. Having worked closely with McLaren in the past, and seen the benefits of their technology and processes, this was an opportunity I jumped at.

'My relationship with Rod goes way back, and he’s been instrumental in helping me develop as a rider and a person. I can’t wait to join my new teammates and do everything I can to help us achieve the successes I know will come.'

Ellingworth commented on the move, saying Cavendish 'gives us the balance the team need to win' and that they hope to get him back to his previous best.

It's been a complicated few seasons at Dimension Data for the 48-time Grand Tour stage winner. Suffering from Eppstein-Barr Virus, Cavendish last registered a win on the road in February 2018, Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour. 

Trying to kickstart his form, Cavendish has returned to the track currently racing the London SixDay with Team Ineos rider Owain Doull.