Saiz 'interested' in Mayo

The Alejandro Valverde saga may be over, but a new transfer soap opera might be brewing. Or is Manol

The Alejandro Valverde saga may be over, but a new transfer soap opera might be brewing. Or is Manol
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE With the Alejandro Valverde saga terminated now that he has signed for Illes Balears, there are indications that another big name might be on the move in Spain, namely Iban Mayo, who has made no secret of his unhappiness with his Euskaltel team this season. Illes Balears admitted they had been considering making an offer for Mayo when their moves for Valverde appeared initially to be getting nowhere. Now it appears that Liberty Seguros' boss Manolo Saiz is at the very least contemplating a move for Mayo. Speaking to El Diario Vasco, Saiz acknowledged that he still had some places to fill on his team's 2005 roster, and that he is looking for high quality riders to plug those spaces. Asked if he would be interested in Mayo, Saiz responded enigmatically, saying: "Mayo is an interesting rider for anyone, not just me. I would say he is very, very interesting, which doesn't mean to say that I have made any move to sign him." Saiz added: "With the changes that are going to take place with the Pro Tour he is more interesting than Alejandro Valverde because the Pro Tour has 160 days of competition and almost 70 of them are in major tours, which makes a rider like Mayo, who can do two major tours, rather appetising." Saiz, though, is not totally impressed with the erratic Basque, who stormed through the early part of this season, winning the Dauphin Libr just before the Tour de France, but then flopped seriously at the Tour and did not start the Vuelta due to illness. "He would need to change his mentality to do two major tours, but it is clear that he is a three-week rider," said Saiz. The Liberty boss said he had not spoken to Euskaltel team manager Miguel Madariaga about the possibility of signing Mayo, then continued in his enigmatic vein. "In life nothing is certain except death, and in cycling you have always to see things from every possible angle. But a team always has a broader view than any one rider, and you have to act in the interests of the group. Some things may not be interesting for a rider, but they might be for the team who are paying him." A reference to Mayo's abandon from the Tour and absence from the Vuelta perhaps? Saiz continued by suggesting Mayo's recent problems may be the result of a lack of self-discipline and seemed to offer a solution. "No rider can set discipline in a team, at least not in my team." The overall tone of the interview suggested that Saiz may have been in wind-up mode, but remember that he did pay to get Roberto Heras out of his US Postal contract at this stage last year. Might he do the same with Mayo?
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