• Giuseppe Saronni (current manager) with Mr. Li President of TJ-Sport at announcement of TJ Sport's backing of 2017 team (Supplied/TJ Sport) (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The UCI WorldTour team could get its first Chinese team after it was announced TJ Sport Consultation will take over the licence of the Lampre-Merida team in 2017.
Cycling Central

29 Aug 2016 - 12:45 PM  UPDATED 29 Aug 2016 - 2:25 PM

Chinese company TJ Sport Consultation are the new licence holders of the Lampre-Merida team and aim to join the WorldTour in 2017.  

There were initial rumours the company had purchased CGS Cycling, the current management group of the team. But it appears to have just assumed the licence. 

CGS will continue to manage the team with current general manager Giuseppe Saronni at the helm. As a result, current contracts will be honoured. 

"The goals of the team will be the achievement of a high level of competitiveness in the Tour de France and the development of the Chinese cycling in view of the participation to the next Olympic Games," stated a quote on the Lampre-Merida website. 

Next year, 17 WorldTour spots are up for grabs. IAM Cycling and Tinkoff wind up at the end of the season leaving 16 WorldTour spots including Lampre-Merida's. But Bora-Argon 18 and the Bahrain project also join the 16 teams in the scuffle for a place. One of the 18 teams will miss out. 

The Unknown Unknowns

It is not clear if Lampre will continue as a sponsor of this team or drop to the Continental level. A Chinese naming rights sponsor will soon be announced. 

It is said the complete rider roster is not close to finalised. 

With current Merida off to the Bahrain project, the team is left without a bike sponsor but is set to announce one soon.  

While the kit design is also not finalised, it is certain Champion Systems will manufacture it.