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Mitchelton-Scott make complete U-turn on new sponsor

Joe Robinson
18 Jun 2020

Team manager Gerry Ryan now confirms the deal with Manuela Fundación is off the table

The mysterious takeover of the Mitchelton-Scott team by Spanish non-profit organisation Manuela Fundación has been aborted, a statement from the team has confirmed.

Team manager Gerry Ryan addressed the situation in a statement released on Thursday, explaining that despite an 'initial connection', the deal with Francisco Huertas could no longer take place.

'We felt a strong initial connection with Mr Francisco Huertas, the Manuela Fundación and their noble aims,' team founder and manager Ryan explained.

'However, as the negotiations have evolved after the initial announcement on Friday, we have concluded that the relationship will not proceed. We wish Mr Huertas and the Manuela Fundación all of the best for the future.'

Confusion had reigned ever since Mitchelton-Scott announced that this new Spanish-based company would be taking over as the team's primary sponsor when racing resumed in July.

It was reported initially that the Manuela Fundación organisation would be replacing the existing sponsors until the end of the season and beyond. However, team manager Ryan told media that he would remain in control of the team's UCI WorldTour licence.

This came as a surprise to the new 'owners', with the company's head of sport Emilio Rodriquez expressing his surprise at Ryan's comments in the Spanish press.

'It leaves me frozen, because they are not right. An agreement was signed on 5th June and it needs to be complied with. They will know why they say that, but we agreed to join with GreenEdge from that day on,' said Rodriquez.

'We came in to be the owners, not simply a sponsor. We agreed we were the owners, and that as from 1st January 2021, we would also own the licence once all the paperwork had been handled by the UCI. We came in to save the team, but with our own conditions.'

Going forward, winery and spa company Mitchelton and Swiss bike brand Scott will be retained as named sponsors for the remainder of 2020 while also continuing on into next year.

Additionally, Ryan confirmed that all riders and would be paid their full wages from August after the team was forced to cut contracts by as much as 70% during the enforced pause from cycling.

'This will include a return to full wages for all riders and staff once WorldTour racing commences in August and a commitment to the year 2021 as we search for a suitable sponsorship,' said Ryan.

'We believe in this team and the people and culture that have made it so successful these past eight years. Our riders have been inspiring in their commitment and motivation in what has been an uncertain season, and our staff loyal and determined to provide the best service possible in what will be a busy and challenging end to the year. We can’t wait to get back on the road and start winning more races.'