We are proud to announce that Team Merlin will be taking to the roads in 2018. The team will feature Elite Belgium-based rider, Dan Patten. As is usually the case, these things don’t just happen overnight…
From Filming to Funding
A year ago we had a photo and film shoot in Belgium with Dan aboard the Merlin Nitro SL. Little did we know at the time that this would progress and lead to some great opportunities for both Dan and Merlin Cycles.
The shoot in Belgium was the perfect fit of three great elements;
Bike – Our best ever road bike, the Nitro SL, made in Belgium by our big name bike manufacturer – they originally designed the frame for comfort over Belgian cobbles.
Flanders – Those iconic climbs which have featured in possibly the best of the one day classics, the Tour of Flanders; Koppenberg, Paterberg, Muur de Geraardsbergen…
Dan Patten – Dan was a solid worker in Team Wiggins for two years, competing in events such as the Dubai Tour and the Tour of California. In the Tour of California, he lead the award for the rider getting the most TV time, getting into breaks virtually every day (see below). With the market for full-time riders tightening at the end of 2016, Dan had some big decisions to make. After returning his bike to Team Wiggins, Dan was back in Belgium and training for a season of racing in Flanders. Dan turned down places on UK ‘Pro’ teams riding for free, in favour of the potential to earn regular Euros in Belgian Kermesse racing.
Go Go Nitro
In summer last year, we had a call from Dan, in need of a bike. His bike had let him down with mechanical issues at a crucial time in a big race in Belgium.
We lent Dan a Nitro SL for the rest of the season where he managed a string of top ten finishes, in races with high level competition from riders in teams such as Wanty and Cannondale Drapac. Worth mentioning too, that Dan rode the Nitro complete with standard Fulcrum aluminium wheels.
The Year Ahead
So, fast forward to 2018 and with Merlin’s support Dan will be able to focus on training and racing 100%. As luck would have it Dan’s first race for 2018 looks likely to be Merlin Cycles ‘home race’, the Chorley GP. The race which literally passes Merlin Cycles shop in Buckshaw Village.
“It will be great to mix racing in the UK with Europe. The ongoing support from Merlin Cycles will allow this to happen. There are gaps in the UK calendar which will be easily filled in Europe. Kicking the UK races off with the Chorley GP in the heartland of Merlin Cycles country will be ideal!”
John Moss, Merlin Cycles Owner added,
“Dan is a credit to the sport and the ideal person to represent Merlin at the Elite level of bike racing. With our backing, Dan will be able to race our bikes at the highest level and focus on races in the UK and further afield” Dan Will be riding Merlin’s own bikes with Stages power and 3T finishing kit. Clothing will be provided by Castelli and Sidi.
As well as Dan racing at Elite level in the UK and beyond, Team Merlin will also be represented by Merlin Cycles staff. We have several members of staff who race at various levels and in many different disciplines, mainly in the North West of the UK.
Check out the Nitro SL and Nitro Aero here.