Following its unsuccessful attempt to buy the Mitchelton-Scott team, Spanish NGO Manuela Fundación is now in advanced talks with CCC Team, with reports that it is ready to invest €10 million a year to secure a major investment in the outfit.
Cyclingnews understands that Manuela Fundación has approached a number of teams in recent weeks, including NTT Pro Cycling, Astana, and Deceuninck-QuickStep, while CCC Team manager Jim Ochowicz is also talking to several potential investors as he tries to save the men's WorldTour team.
Ochowicz confirmed in June that his Continuum Sports management company are searching for a new title sponsor after CCC decided to end their backing at the end of 2020. He suggested that several potential sponsors were interested and hoped to have something in place before the start of the Tour de France on August 29.
However, that has left team leaders such as Greg Van Avermaet in limbo, with the Belgian reportedly linked with a move to AG2R La Mondiale or to Israel Start-Up Nation, who have already secured Chris Froome's services for 2021. Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin and 10 other riders are reportedly under contract with CCC Team for 2021 and so could have to stay onboard if the sale to Manuela Fundación is completed.
Manuela Fundación now appears to be the front-runner to help save the CCC Team, with Ochowicz not denying he was in talks with the little-known Spanish charity organisation.
"Negotiations are ongoing with various potential sponsors. As we have learned in the past, commenting on potential sponsorship opportunities can be detrimental to the process so at this stage, we will not be commenting further," Ochowicz told Cyclingnews in a brief statement.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport and other media in Italy, Manuela Fundacion representatives have offered €10 million to take over the team’s naming rights as well as control its WorldTour license.
Former Mitchelton-Scott financial advisor Alvaro Crespi is reported to be working on the deal behind the scenes after being dismissed by Mitchelton-Scott team owner Gerry Ryan along with longstanding team manager Shayne Bannan.
Manuela Fundación is due to launch in Spain on October 4, with a professional team seen as the best way to promote its charity work. Former Giro d'Italia winner and Spanish resident Stefano Garzelli is advising the Granada-based charity on how best to enter professional cycling.
The largely unknown Manuela Fundación, run by Granada businessman Francisco Huertas and his wife Maria Angustias González, was a surprise name to take over sponsorship of Mitchelton-Scott when the deal was announced in mid-June.
The organisation was set to take over title sponsorship for the remainder of the 2020 season, ensuring the team's future beyond 2021, before conflict arose over the sponsorship/takeover deal, leading to Ryan pulling the plug less than a week later.
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