Shake-up at Mitchelton-Scott after ownership confusion, as Bahrain-McLaren boss joins team

After the bizarre Manuela Fundacion saga, Australian team Mitchelton is making some big changes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mitchelton-Scott has announced a major management shake-up in the wake of a failed sponsorship deal.

Last month the Australian WorldTour team announced it would be changing name for the rest of 2020 as a new sponsor came on board, but a dispute then emerged over who would own the team after contracts were signed.

The confusion resulted in Mitchelton-Scott cancelling the deal with Spanish non-profit organisation Manuela Fundacion just a week after it was announced.

Now Mitchelton has revealed a shake-up of its management, as former Bahrain-McLaren boss Brent Copeland joins the team as general manager.

Darrach McQuaid, Mitchelton-Scott’s commercial adviser and a key figure in the Giro d’Italia’s Ireland Grande Departenza in 2014, will take up a newly created chairman role with the team, working closely with team owner Gerry Ryan.

The team’s current general manager, Shayne Bannan, who helped set up the team and has been the boss since 2012, will be leaving the squad.

Australian businessman and owner of wine company Mitchelton Gerry Ryan said: “We are looking forward to having the experience of Brent, who we believe will fit immediately into our proud culture, coming into the team as the new general manager, as well as Darach into the role as chairman and are even more excited to see the action back out on the road in just a few short weeks.”

Mitchelton-Scott had a strange month, at first surprising the cycling world with a name change and a new kit before things took a bizarre turn.

But a dispute quickly emerged between team owner Gerry Ryan and the new sponsor, as they appeared to disagree on who would actually own the team.

Ryan insisted he would retain ownership of the team, while Manuela Fundacion believed it would have control.

The head of Manuela Fundacion’s sports department said publicly the team would be Spanish with a headquarters in spain.

After a week of confusion, the deal was cancelled.

Bahrain-McLaren operations director Brent Copeland will be leaving his current team after helping set up the project in 2017.

He served as general manager of the squad until September 2019, when Copeland moved into the operations director role as Rod Ellingworth took over as principal.

On his time with Bahrain, Copeland said: “It has been a memorable experience and I’m proud to have been part of this exciting project. I was drawn to the opportunity to make history by enabling Bahrain to be the first Middle Eastern country to join the WorldTour.”

He added: “Mitchelton-Scott has always been a team which I have recognised as been leaders in the world of cycling, not only for the great organisation and competitiveness they always show but also the image as a team which they have created over the many years.”

McQuaid was closely involved in taking the Giro to Ireland for the first three stages in 2014, as well as Richmond’s bid for the UCI Road World Championships in 2015.

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He said: “I am honoured to be appointed Chairman of this world class team. It is a great privilege to work alongside Gerry Ryan and now Brent Copeland in leading this organisation. I look forward to working with everyone in delivering the sporting, commercial and business strategy in the years to come.”

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Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.