• Esteban Chaves is congratulated by team owner Gerry Ryan (Getty Images AsiaPac)Source: Getty Images AsiaPac
Matt White, head sports director of Mitchelton-Scott, has hailed a two-year commitment to the Australian WorldTour squad from owner and founder Gerry Ryan after a mid-season takeover from Manuela Fundacion had thrown the team into uncertainty.
SBS Cycling Central

15 Jul 2020 - 10:27 PM 

Manuela Fundacion's failed takeover of the Mitchelton-Scott World Tour licence and sponsorship has been much publicised since its announcement on June 12.

A hurried announcement without full details of an arrangement with Manuela Fundacion proved to be a sign for things to come, and that instability flowed through to the team, with questions from staff.

Mitchelton-Scott director, Matt White, talked to the Zwift Cycling Central Podcast, where he spoke of the uncertainty of that period. 

"There was a couple of weeks there - with the story from the Manuela Foundation - there were a lot of questions that we had about that foundation," said White. "It was a bit of a shaky period, we didn't know anything about the sponsor, anything about the guy.

"It's a foundation that doesn't exist yet, but the big steadying of the ship was the commitment from Gerry for two more years."

Matt White: "The commitment from Gerry Ryan really helped steady the ship" - Zwift Cycling Central Podcast

In this episode of the Zwift cycling central podcast Christophe and Macka welcome Matt White from Michelton-Scott, to talk about the events of the last few weeks, and also the reboot of the 2020 season, and what it may change for the future. 

Confusion reigns in Manuela Fundacion's sponsorship takeover of Mitchelton-Scott
Fundamental misunderstandings have become apparent in the proposed sponsorship takeover of Australian WorldTour squad currently known as Mitchelton-Scott, with mixed messages issued in the limited statements to the cycling media.

There had been a general understanding that there was a renewed commitment from Ryan to continue putting money into the WorldTour team for the rest of the season, while new sponsorship was sought for future seasons. The statement from White makes it apparent that the team is on solid footing until the end of the 2022 season from the Australian benefactor.  

"The big difference and the thing that has really steadied the ship is obviously the commitment from Gerry Ryan," said White. "Everybody in the organisation, young or old, everyone knows that when Gerry says something it happens. 

"Once everybody knew that, there was no way we'd be carrying any negativity into the second part of the season or the future. I think you'll see in our team (men's team) and the women's team, a very similar line-up for the next few years. There won't be many changes with staff or riders, and we're looking forward to be getting back on the road and winning again."

The major change in the wake of the aborted deal was the appointment of Brent Copeland in place of the departing Shayne Bannan as general manager. The Australian Bannan had been in charge of the negotiations with Manuela Fundacion and with the disconnect between the ownership and management within the team, South African journeyman of the sport Copeland was appointed to the key role.

"He's had involvement in our sport for that period (25 years)," said White of Copeland. "First off, he was a sports director for Lampre  (WorldTour squad Lampre-Merida) for 10 or 12 years.

Massive Mitchelton-Scott upheaval after failed Manuela Fundacion takeover
Manuela Fundacion's failed takeover of Mitchelton-Scott has resulted in a major shake-up of senior team members.

"Then he helped Doug Ryder take that team (MTN-Qhubeka) to the higher level, Continental level, from the African team it was. Then he set up Bahrain (WorldTour squad Bahrain-Merida).

"So I know him, we weren't close or anything, but it's a small Anglo community and he's renowned as a smart operator. I think he's going to be a great fit in our team. I've had a lot to do with him in the last few weeks."

With the season set to restart on August 1 with Strade Bianche, White was keen to get the squad focused on racing again and addressed that and a variety of other topics in the Zwift Cycling Central podcast.