With Vincenzo Nibali coming off the Giro, and Rohan Dennis trying to find his way as a grand tour GC leader, Bahrain-Merida could struggle to compete among the highest tier of teams. They also have multiple objectives: their opportunist sprinter Sonny Colbrelli will be looking for stage wins. Colbrelli lacks the flat-out speed of the peloton’s heavy sprinter class, but he can survive hills to win from a diminished peloton and win on uphill drags to the line. Matej Mohoric is an aggressive and experienced opportunist who has won from breakaways in the Giro and Vuelta. Whether he works for GC riders Nibali and Dennis, or is given the freedom to fly, is the question for Bahrain-Merida management.
Bahrain-Merida’s big wildcard is Nibali, who stated before the race that he intends to challenge for stages or perhaps the polka dot jersey. Such words could be a smokescreen from the cagy Italian veteran. At 34, Nibali’s best years as a GC rider are nearly over. And the Tour’s loss of Chris Froome could very well open the door for an experienced and tactical rider like Nibali to rise to the top. After all, the last time Chris Froome sat out of the Tour de France, in 2014, it was Nibali who snatched the win.
Matej Mohoric, Vincenzo Nibali, Rohan Dennis, Damiano Caruso, Sonny Colbrelli, Dylan Teuns, Ivan Garcia Cortina, Jan Tratnik