Tour de France: Mark Cavendish's new team Bahrain McLaren target glory in 2020
By PA Media
Last Updated: 11/12/19 6:58am
Cycling's newest team Bahrain McLaren can upset the existing order, according to team principal Rod Ellingworth.
The former Team Sky performance director says winning the Tour de France is at the top of his wishlist, but says things will be done differently with McLaren on board.
The motor-sport giant has taken a 50 per cent stake in what was the Bahrain-Merida team, and has already made impressive moves by signing sprinter Mark Cavendish and general classification contenders Mikel Landa and Wout Poels this winter.
They will ride for the first time in the team's new orange and red jerseys next year, matching the Formula One team's traditional livery, but the goal is for more than the team colours to stand out.
"You look at this building, there's no other team that has a centre like this, its own development hub," Ellingworth said during their launch at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.
"We're already up and running, we've started projects, we're on our hands and knees working at this minute and it's pretty exciting.
"It's something no other team has at the same sort of level."
Joint managing director John Allert, the man who hired Ellingworth from what is now Team Ineos, spoke of the team as 'disruptors' in a sport primed for change.
"We want to unpack this sport in a new and dynamic way for fans. We see the technology hub in Woking as being key." Allert said.
Duncan Bradley, the team's new technical director, says that is about more than developing equipment, with data analytics an area which can help riders better manage their performances alongside composite technology and aerodynamics.
"Together we believe that there is a disruptive opportunity for us to take on the might of very, very successful competitors," Bradley said.
Bahrain-Merida have already enjoyed success, winning two stages of this year's Tour de France through Dylan Teuns and the now departed Vincenzo Nibali.
Ellingworth and Allert said discussions have taken place over the formation of a women's team to exist alongside the men's, although no further steps have yet been taken, with the focus for now on making a greater impact on the men's World Tour and build from there.
"It's quite clear the ambition from within the team is to become a Grand Tour-winning team," Ellingworth said.
"The yellow jersey at the Tour is a huge iconic jersey we want to bring home to McLaren and also to Bahrain."
Doing that, of course, will mean beating his old boss Sir Dave Brailsford and Team Ineos, winners of seven of the past eight Tours.
"I think from the outset, yes, we're capable of taking them on," Ellingworth said.
"It's about getting your key riders on the line in good condition and good health and if we're in that situation then we stand every chance.
"I see us as a thriving new team with lots of energy and we're not going to mess around. I don't see us as an underdog."