The Axeon Cycling Team is the latest iteration of Merckx's successful development squad, which was formerly Bissell Development Team

Kelowna, B.C. — Retired professional Axel Merckx announced the launch of the Axeon Cycling Team on Wednesday.

Formerly Bissell Development, the U23 program’s 2014 results were the strongest to date with Ruben Zepuntke’s stage win and GC podium at the Tour of Alberta, and Greg Daniel’s second-place finish in Stage 4 of the Tour of California.

“My goal is to create a team legacy and a program with a strong name that will endure,” said Axel Merckx. “I believe we have the best riders in the world signed for 2015. With continued hard work and attention to doing things the right way, this team will be known as the team that young riders strive to join, the one of which pros will be proud to call themselves alumni.”

Returning as a UCI Continental team for 2015, Axeon, was originally founded in 2009 with the goal of developing young talent into pro riders. Since the program began, it has sent 18 riders to the ProTour ranks, including Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing), Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano), Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale Garmin), Ben King (Garmin-Sharp), and Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Racing).

Axeon Cycling plans to race the Tour of California, USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Tour of Utah, and the U23 Paris Roubaix, among other races in 2015.

The Axeon Cycling Team will continue to be registered in the United States, which means that 60 percent of the riders are required to be American citizens. The roster will be structured similarly to previous years, with 10 Continental riders and two “club” riders fresh out of the junior ranks.

2015 Axeon Cycling Team roster

Geoffrey Curran (USA)
Greg Daniel (USA)
Daniel Eaton (USA)
Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR)
James Oram (NZ)
Logan Owen (USA)
Chris Putt (USA)
Keegan Swirbul (USA)
Ruben Guerrero (POR)
Justin Oien (USA)
*Will Barta (USA)
*Phil O’Donnell (USA)

*denotes club riders

The Axeon Cycling Team will be supported by: Atlantech, NEON Adventures, Bissell, Cipollini, SRAM, and the American Proficiency Institute.