Lampre-Merida to become first Chinese WorldTour team
The future of the Lampre-Merida team has been under question ever since Merida confirmed that it would partner with the new Bahrain Pro Cycling project in 2017. The split ends a collaboration between the bike company and Lampre, an Italian sheet steel manufacturer, which began in 2013.
During the Tour de France we heard rumours that a Lampre-backed squad would drop down to Continental level; other reports stated that it would be a Pro Continental team.
In a conference which took place in Beijing, Lampre-Merida was officially assigned as basis for the development of the first World Tour team sustained by a Chinese main sponsor, thanks to the cooperation with TJ Sport Consultation.
One of the commitment sof TJ Sport Consultation, whose president is Mr Li Zhiqiang, is the development of cycling for all purposes: cycling as a means of transport which promotes a sustainable mobility and cycling as sports to be developed in all disciplines and categories. The coordinator of the project is Mauro Gianetti.
The World Tour team will continue and boost the activity of the traditional Italian sports group which collected bunch of successes in more than two decades in the most important cycling races, and it will be the flagship for the promotion of the project and will have long-term tasks as the future is guaranteed for four years.
The goals of the team will be to have a high level of competitiveness in the Tour de France and the development of Chinese cycling in view of participation at the next Olympic Games.