Saiz steps aside temporarily
Thursday, June 8, 2006 11.00pm
The Astana-Wrth team announce that team boss Manolo Saiz is stepping down temporarily after being i
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Astana-Wrth team boss Manolo Saiz, detained by Spanish police in a as part of a doping inquiry two weeks ago, has announced he is temporarily stepping aside from that role until "the facts are definitively established about the events in which he has been involved". The news came in a statement released by the Astana team on Thursday night. The statement also said "this decision, which the International Cycling Union has already been told about, extends to the position he holds on the ProTour Council and includes a commitment not to appear at public events in which the team is taking part." The statement added that Saiz had made the decision to step aside "to safeguard the future of the team and for the good of cycling in general". It has been heavily rumoured that Astana's place at next month's Tour de France could be placed in jeopardy if Saiz had remained in place as their manager. Astana's statement concluded by "transmitting a message of peace and normality to the members of the team". There was also a commitment from the sponsors to stand by the team in the long term. Just hours before the announcement of Saiz's temporary sidelining, the Astana-Wrth team had sent out another message with new contact details for the team's members following the recent withdrawal of Liberty Seguros from the sport. Saiz's new contact details were top of the list. Meanwhile, one of the riders implicated in the same doping inquiry, T-Mobile's Oscar Sevilla, may not have been dropped from his team's Tour shortlist as was reported earlier this week by German news agency DPA. According to Spanish website Todociclismo.com, the German team have received reassurances from Sevilla about his link with his long-term coach Ignacio Labarta, who was also detained by Spanish police. Based on this information, Sevilla is still reported to be one of six riders in contention for the final four places in T-Mobile's Tour line-up. Speaking to Todociclismo, a T-Mobile spokesman commented: "If Sevilla or any other rider is implicated in a doping affair, they would not be suspended as Phonak have done [with Santiago Botero and Jos Enrique Gutierrez], but sacked, as this is stated in the contracts they sign. For the moment we've got no reason to doubt Sevilla or any other rider, and consequently we are still counting on him as a possible starter at the Tour."
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