Manuela Fundación unveiled as new main sponsor of Mitchelton-Scott for remainder of 2020

Mitchelton-Scott / Manuela Fundacion
The new Manuela Fundación kit (Image credit: Mitchelton-Scott / Manuela Fundacion)

Mitchelton-Scott have announced that the Manuela Fundación will be the Australian WorldTour team's new main sponsor for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The Australian team, which was founded in 2012, will be named for the Spanish not-for-profit entity, which will launch on October 4 with a social work project in the country. It is not yet known how long the partnership will last, though team owner Gerry Ryan hinted that the sponsorship will continue beyond the season.

For several stints of the team's existence, the squad has been funded by the Australian businessman, most recently through his winery and spa hotel Mitchelton.

"After an unsettling and uncertain period, particularly in recent months, we are thrilled to have the support of Mr Francisco Huertas and the Manuela Fundación to ensure our future in 2021 and beyond," said Gerry Ryan in a team statement.

"We have always believed in our product and values as a team for prospective partners, but the significance of this long-term deal is not lost on us, especially considering the recent hardships of not only the cycling world and sports industry, but the wider world's health and economic climate.

"As an organisation, we are moved by the story of the Manuela Fundación and are looking forward to working with such a generous project and doing our part to contribute to their vision of helping to create a more supportive world.

"The Manuela Fundación is run by Francisco Huertas and his wife Maria Angustias González, with the organisations' activities supported by their own funds – their aim is "to help create a more supportive world."

Little is known about the Manuela Fundación, though the organisation does have a webpage (opens in new tab) counting down to the October launch. Currently, it reads: 'Manuela Fundación is the culmination of a macro-social project with a diverse purpose of solidarity in favour of the needy, sports and the performing arts.'

Huertas, meanwhile, is a Granada-based businessman involved in the construction industry and has previously been involved in football sponsorship. His company, Hufrago, was a sponsor of Granada CF in the late 2000s, while Huertas was part of a takeover bid for then-third division side Real Jaén in 2017.

"It's been an intense period of hard work between Manuela Fundación sports director Emilio Rodríguez and Mitchelton-Scott general manager Shayne Bannan," said Huertas.

"It's an incredible opportunity and an honour to be able to reach this agreement."

The new sponsorship deal comes just weeks after rumours had circulated about Mitchelton-Scott's possible disbandment at the end of 2020. The team has cut rider and staff wages by a reported 70 per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn – owner Gerry Ryan has largely funded the team since chemical and explosives company Orica left at the end of 2017.

The Manuela Fundación has already sponsored a U-23 squad based in Andalusia for the past two seasons, though it is unknown whether the squad will share a relationship with the WorldTour team. The Chinese-based Continental feeder squad Mitchelton-BikeExchange was not registered for the 2020 season.

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