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“In Italy, we explored options but no one really came forward. In our country no one has had the courage to bet on a WorldTour team."

Photo: ANSA - PERI / DI MEO / ZENNARO

BAHRAIN-MCLAREN

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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30.11.2016 @ 11:36 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Vincenzo Nibali’s new project Bahrain-Merida was granted its WorldTour licence last week, but the Italian superstar has revealed he initially trued to set the team up in Italy first but found no backers.

 

“In Italy, we explored options, tried to send messages but no one really came forward. In our country no one has had the courage to bet on a WorldTour team, it is a difficult time for the economy and many companies even if they fit, are unwilling to make a investment of this type,” he told Tuto Bici in a recent interview.

 

This came as no surprise to Nibali, who knows the dire state of cycling in his nation. While Italy has the most WorldTour riders, behind only France, the team now has no WorldTour team after TJ Sport, a Chinese group, bought over longstanding Italian team Lampre-Merida. The team also has just four Pro Conti teams (Bardiani, Willier-Southeast, Androni and Nippo-Vini Fantini, although there are strong contingents of Italian riders at both Bahrain and Nibali’s former team Astana. Doping issues have also riddled the country.

 

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