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Manuela Fundación look to other teams after Mitchelton-Scott debacle

Mitchelton-Scott / Manuela Fundacion
The kit for the Mitchelton-Scott takeover that was approved by the UCI (Image credit: Mitchelton-Scott / Manuela Fundacion)

The colours and logo of the Manuela Fundación may yet be seen in the professional peloton, with the Spanish organisation reportedly turning to other WorldTour teams following its failed takeover of Mitchelton-Scott

According to Spanish newspapers Marca and AS, the non-profit body headed by Francisco Huertas has now abandoned the Mitchelton-Scott project, despite previously claiming they'd legally purchased the team's holding company, if not the WorldTour licence. 

Owner and long-standing funder Gerry Ryan called off the takeover just a week after it was announced, seemingly clashing with Manuela Fundación's assumption that they'd take over every aspect of the team and turn it into a Spanish team from 2021. 

Ryan has since enacted a major management shake-up, with Shayne Bannan and Alvaro Crespi, both of whom were heavily involved in the negotiations, leaving the team and Brent Copeland taking over as general manager and Darach McQuaid as Chairman of the team. 

"It's a blow, because going from having it signed and sealed to not having anything is difficult," a spokesperson for the Manuela Fundación told AS

"There was an agreement that suited everyone, of going half-and-half for the rest of this season, but what can't happen is that we pay and in the future the base and the licence remain in Australia, and not in Granada."

When Ryan called off the deal, Manuela Fundación initially doubled down and claimed they'd signed a contract to purchase the team's holding company through Bannan, thus taking control of the team's infrastructure and staff contracts. It was then reported they subsequently offered Ryan 10 million Euros to purchase the WorldTour licence. 

However, it appears that nothing formally changed hands and that Manuela Fundación are happy not to go down the path of legal action and are instead starting to look at other options. 

According to Marca, Huertas is still keen to get into WorldTour cycling and is already in talks with another team. 

"There are other teams for sale and we'll evaluate that later. The good thing about the Mitchelton option was the immediacy, since it was for the current season. We know of sponsors who aren't going to continue, and we'll see," the spokesperson told AS.

Many sponsors and teams have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with a number of squads imposing pay cuts or deferrals on their riders. CCC Team are actively searching for a new sponsor to keep the team afloat in 2021 after CCC announced it would withdraw its sponsorship.