Team Bahrain McLaren has rebranded as Bahrain Victorious
Team Bahrain McLaren has rebranded as Bahrain Victorious Image Credit: Courtesy

Dubai: Rolf Aldag will take over as the sporting director at Bahrain Victorious cycling team for the 2021 season.

The announcement has been made by the German just a day after announcing that he has left Women’s WorldTour team Canyon-SRAM earlier this week.

Aldag joins the outfit formerly known as Bahrain McLaren that includes established riders such as Franco Pellizotti, Xavier Florencio, Tim Harris and Gorazd Stangelj. He was part of the pro peloton from 1990 to 2005, racing for Helvetia and Team Telekom, winning the German road title in 2000. He moved to the director’s car the season after retiring, working for the T-Mobile/HTC-Highroad squad and later Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Dimension Data before joining Canyon-SRAM last year. He raced in 10 Tour de France, one Giro d’Italia and five Vuelta a Espana.

Bahrain have taken on the new name this season in an attempted revamp of their 2020 roster. The changes, though, are largely aesthetic and behind the scenes, with the squad largely unchanged from the team that emerged from the transfer window last winter.

Rod Ellingworth has departed as team principal after just one full season with the Briton heading back to Ineos for 2021, while Neil Stephens has joined from UAE Team Emirates towards the end of the 2020 season.

On the rider side, Australian climber Jack Haig is the main addition, boosting an already strong General Classification squad, while several fastmen — Mark Cavendish and Ivan García Cortina among them — have left the outfit. Other outstanding riders at Bahrain include Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao and Wout Poels.

Earlier during the week, 20-year-old Ahmad Madan joined the team becoming the first-ever Bahraini WorldTour pro.

“The Team showed a lot of fighting spirit and raced in a very structured way, during a complicated 2020 season,” Aldag, 52, said in a statement. “That was very attractive to me and raised my attention. When the opportunity came to be part of this team, I didn’t hesitate. Now I am looking forward to contributing to the future success. I’m happy to join the team because it offers a lot of opportunities and riders with big potential.

“I’m looking forward to helping develop the riders and contribute to the team’s success. Team Bahrain Victorious is a team that managed to make positive structural changes during a challenging 2020 season. Therefore, I am happy to get the chance to join the team to help build future success.”