Brand News

Rejuvenated and with the world champion in its ranks


Rejuvenated and with the world champion in its ranks

2014 brings quite some changes to TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA: A number of young, talented riders will step up to the professional ranks in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green, and the team welcomes Rui Costa, no less than the reigning road world champion. To cut a long story short: The season ahead is going to be exciting.

Rui Costa had already signed a contract with TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA before Florence’s world championship race. The Portuguese all-rounder was looking for a chance to ride a three-week stage race as a team leader after multiple stage wins at the Tour de France and two consecutive overall wins at the Tour de Suisse. And TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA was ready to offer him exactly this opportunity. As Costa went on to crown himself as world champion after a brilliant race in Florence, this was a brilliant coup on the transfer market.

Rui Costa had a lot of say regarding his goals for the season 2014 with TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA. The world champion will compete aboard a MERIDA road bike for the first time at the «Dubai Tour» due to be held for the first time in the Persian Gulf region at the beginning of February 2014. Right after that Costa will join his new team mates on the island of Mallorca: A part of the team is scheduled to compete at the four-day «Mallorca Challenge», and right after that race MERIDA is going to invite journalists from all over the world to the Balearic island for the brand’s international media camp.

The first real test for Rui Costa is set to be «Paris-Nice» which is to be held from March 9th to 16th: The race to the sun suits Costa’s strengths. And the Portuguese has set his sights on one of the classic races as well: At the end of April, he aims to score a top result at the hilly Liège-Bastogne-Liège race. In doing so, he wants to show that the curse of the rainbow jersey is but a myth that cannot keep him from performing at his very best. In mid June, Rui Costa has the chance to score a real hat trick, as he had won the two most recent editions of the Tour de Suisse.

But even more important for Rui Costa will be this year’s Tour de France: After all TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA is giving the Portuguese a first time opportunity to be the team leader at a tree-week stage race and pursue his own chances for the overall standings. As the brand’s director of sports marketing, Andreas Rottler points out: «For MERIDA it’s a dream come true to welcome Rui Costa on the team and have the honour to be the maker of the world champion’s bicycle in what is the brand’s second year in the pro peloton. And I’m sure that the Reacto Evo and the WarpTT are the right tools for him to achieve his goals. Our team for 2014 is a very good mix of both young and experienced riders that head into 2014 on high spirits. Having the world champion in our team is something very special, but it also means that the pressure on the team is even higher as Rui will always be in the focus of attention.»

It’s not all about the world champion, as TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA has some more new riders: A second Portuguese rider joins the team with strong time trialist Nelson Oliveira, and the Spanish climber Rafael Valls completes the Iberian trident. Young Slovene Jan Polanc and the two Italians Niccolò Bonifazio and Valerio Conti had been riding in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green as stagiaires from August 2013 and have been signed to debut in the pro ranks in 2014. The sprint fraction has been boosted by the signing of Sacha Modolo, and Xu Gang is the first Chinese cyclist to join TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA.

High-resolution pictures for print use (300dpi) can be found on Merida media server in the category "fotoshooting 2013".