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by Dane Cash
July 3, 2020
Photography by Twitter/@manuelafbike
Following a now-collapsed bid to acquire Mitchelton-Scott, the Manuela Fundación is considering its next steps and looking into alternative avenues for entry into the top tier of professional cycling, AS reports.
As of only a few weeks ago, Spanish businessman Francisco Huertas, who runs the still-to-be-launched non-profit with his wife Maria Angustias González, was expecting the Manuela Fundación logo to be displayed on the kit of a WorldTour squad. While that may yet happen, it apparently won’t be with the Mitchelton-Scott team.
In the weeks since it was first announced that Mitchelton-Scott would become Team Manuela Fundación, it has since emerged that the Manuela Fundación had come to some kind of agreement with Mitchelton-Scott’s then general manager Shayne Bannan without acquiring the team’s WorldTour license from owner Gerry Ryan, who pulled the plug on arrangements with the Manuela Fundación.
As of Tuesday, Bannan is no longer with Mitchelton-Scott, having been replaced as general manager by Brent Copeland. Ryan has said that the team will look elsewhere for sponsors, apparently rejecting a €10 million offer by the Manuela Fundación to buy the WorldTour license.
The abrupt turnaround left Manuela Fundación both surprised and frustrated, with representatives telling AS, “It seems that the employees were making 30 percent [of their salaries] and suddenly there is money.” Huertas and his team are apparently committed to its goals of entering the WorldTour cycling scene, however, and that could now mean securing sponsorship of a different squad.
“There are other teams that are for sale and we are evaluating them for the future,” team representatives told AS. “The good thing about the Mitchelton option was the immediacy, since it was to be for the current season.”
Specifics on which teams the Manuela Fundación is considering as avenues for investment are unclear, but there are multiple top-division squads known to be looking for new funding amid global financial uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The AS report also touched on the possibility of legal proceedings from the Manuela Fundación, whose representatives have noted in recent interviews that it was considering its legal options surrounding the collapsed deal with Mitchelton-Scott. According to AS, Manuela Fundación management has decided against pursuing legal action against the team, but it is still uncertain about whether it will do so with Bannan specifically.