Mitchelton-Scott have confirmed the senior management changes revealed by Cyclingnews on Tuesday, with Brent Copeland leaving Bahrain McLaren to fill the role of general manager, while former commercial adviser Darach McQuaid becomes chairman, a new role that will have a direct liaison with team owner Gerry Ryan.
The shake-up comes after the failed takeover of the Australian WorldTour team by the little-known Spanish non-profit Manuela Fundación. Co-founder and team manager Shayne Bannan, along with experienced management figure Álvaro Crespi have left the squad, with Ryan moving quickly to bring Copeland and McQuaid onboard from July 1.
The team is due to return to racing at the end of the month, with team leaders Adam and Simon Yates and world champion Annemiek van Vleuten due to lead the men's and women's squads in the biggest races.
Ryan is also understood to have told the squad’s riders and staff that he will have no further dealings with Manuela Fundación, despite the recent offer of €10 million by the Spanish NGO to purchase their WorldTour licence. The GreenEdge Cycling company that runs the Mitchelton-Scott team said it had decided not proceed with the Head of Terms provisional agreement agreed on June 5, despite the Manuela Fundación talking of a more formal contract agreement.
"We are looking forward to having the experience of Brent, who we believe will fit immediately into our proud culture, coming into the team as the new General Manager, as well as Darach into the role as Chairman and are even more excited to see the action back out on the road in just a few short weeks," Ryan said in a statement issued by the team.
"Shayne’s contribution to this team is immeasurable and will have a lasting impact on our legacy, and I am incredibly grateful for his involvement and influence over so many years."
Copeland joins Mitchelton-Scott after four years as team manager and more recently director of operations at Bahrain McLaren. He has also worked for Lampre and MTN-Qhubeka.
"Mitchelton-Scott has always been a team which I have recognised as been leaders in the world of cycling, not only for the great organisation and competitiveness they always show but also the image as a team which they have created over the many years," Copeland said.
"I am extremely excited to get started and I will honour this role in every respect."
McQuaid will step into a more formal role at Mitchelton-Scott after working as a commercial adviser for a number of years. He is the youngest brother of former UCI President Pat McQuaid and was responsible for the Giro d’Italia Big Start in Ireland 2014 and the Richmond bid for the UCI Road World Championships in 2015.
"I am honoured to be appointed Chairman of this world class team. It is a great privilege to work alongside Gerry Ryan and now Brent Copeland in leading this organisation. I look forward to working with everyone in delivering the sporting, commercial and business strategy in the years to come," he said.
Bannan and Crespi were both reportedly heavily involved in the failed takeover bid by Manuela Fundación that emerged a few weeks ago and there will inevitably be speculation that their sudden, mid-season exits are linked to the dramatic U-turn in the squad’s future.
Despite a press release being issued by the Mitchelton-Scott team confirming the takeover, and new pink and blue colours revealed, Ryan apparently changed his mind about selling the team's WorldTour licence just a few days later and the entire Spanish-Australian deal disintegrated, to the frustration of former Giro d’Italia winner Stefano Garzelli who headed the Spanish delegation.
Ryan then promised he would underwrite the team’s future at least through 2021 and in August return the squad to their full salaries. Riders and even staff on basic salaries had seen their pay shrink to 30 percent during the spring this year.
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