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by Dane Cash
June 27, 2020
Photography by Kristof Ramon
The Manuela Fundación/Mitchelton-Scott saga took has taken interesting turn. According to Spanish newspaper AS, Francisco Huertas, the Spanish businessman who runs the Manuela Fundación with his wife Maria Angustias González, has offered €10 million to buy Mitchelton-Scott’s WorldTour license from team owner Gerry Ryan.
AS reports that the offer was made on Thursday.
The hefty offer for the all-important WorldTour license is the latest development in a story that has taken a few unexpected twists and turns since Mitchelton-Scott first announced two weeks ago that it was becoming Team Manuela Fundación. Initially, the team said that the nascent Spanish non-profit was coming onboard as the new main sponsor, with an official launch set for July.
For the next few days, people around the world of cycling tried to learn more about the Manuela Fundación, the terms of its agreement, and whether Ryan would continue to own the team. Less than a week later, however, Ryan decided to scuttle the deal. CyclingTips understands that the would-be partnership was arranged by Mitchelton-Scott general manager Shayne Bannan without fully consulting Ryan.
Ryan’s decision to call off the deal caught the people over at the Manuela Fundación off guard, with former Giro d’Italia winner Stefano Garzelli, who had been handling negotiations for the team, telling CicloWeb that “Ryan’s words were like a cold shower.”
As far as the team over at Manuela Fundación knew, they had made a deal that would see them taking ownership of the Mitchelton-Scott team starting in 2021. It has since emerged that the deal struck by Manuela Fundación secured the purchase of Bannan’s New Global Cycling Service, which runs a variety of operations for the squad and manages a wide array of team assets—but does not actually own the team license, which is owned by Ryan.
According to AS, the Manuela Fundación already agreed to pay roughly €20 million for New Global Cycling Services and its various assets without the license itself.
Over the past week, public comments by people connected to the Manuela Fundación have suggested that the organization intends to continue to pursue its acquisition of the team, possibly via legal action, although Thursday’s €10-million offer represents an alternative option.
As AS reports, the offer has yet to receive a response.
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