Manuela Fundación to shutter after only one season
The team made headlines in 2020 when it appeared that backers agreed to buy the WorldTour license of the Australia-backed GreenEdge franchise for $7 million.
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Team Manuela Fundación, the third-division Spanish team that once had dreams of hitting the WorldTour, is shuttering after just one season.
The Spanish website Ciclo21 reports that the team did not meet its financial obligations to continue in 2023, and will cease operations.
“The team will not continue in 2023,” team director José Vicente Bonillo told Ciclo21. “We fought until the end of the year trying to pull together the team for next year, but the economic troubles are stopping us from continuing at the continental level.”
Also read: Confusion in wake of reports of GreenEdge buyout
The team’s woes started in March, when paychecks were not going out to riders and staff. Several riders and staffers soon left when they could find other deals.
The team made headlines in 2020 when it appeared that foundation president Francis Huertas, a Spanish businessman and contractor, agreed to buy the WorldTour license of the Australia-backed GreenEdge franchise for $7 million.
That deal quickly dissolved after it was apparent that team owner Jerry Ryan had not signed off on the sale that was organized through intermediaries.
Ryan redoubled his support for the team he founded in 2012, and rebranded it BikeExchange-Jayco. This season, the team secured its WorldTour future after finishing among the top-18-ranked teams.
Huertas vowed to build a team anyway, and backed the Manuela Fundación team at the continental level in 2022.
The team raced in a mix of Spanish and third-tier races across Europe, and won the best climber’s jersey at the Vuelta a Asturias in May with Isaac Cantón.
Bonillo said things started to unravel this spring.
“Starting in March we started to have troubles in the financing of the team and we started to not make the bills,” Bonilla told Ciclo21. “That’s why some of the riders decided to leave the team.”
Bonilla left the door open for a revival of the team in the future if the foundation can work through its financial straits.