Manolo Saiz

Manuel Saiz Balbás (* October 16, 1959 in Santander, Spain) is a former manager of the Spanish cycling team Liberty Seguros - Würth formerly ONCE. Under the name " Active Bay " he ran the team along with Pablo Anton.

Saiz is known for its modern management methods. Although he was never a professional cyclist, he made ONCE one of the best cycling teams in the world. Many of his riders like Alex Zülle, Roberto Heras and Laurent Jalabert have become successful bike racers. Manolo Saiz was considered one of the most influential and powerful men of cycling.


The greatest successes Manolo Saiz collect in the nineties. Alone 1995-1997 were able to win three times in a row, the Vuelta a Espana Zülle and Jalabert. A Tour winner, he was never able to form. While in the nineties Zülle, Jalabert and Abraham Olano were the flagships, so came after them Igor González de Galdeano and Joseba Beloki, the three made ​​it into Saiz on the podium at the Tour de France. Even Jörg Jaksche of the Team Telekom had not a very good time, the team was a member of and flourished under Saiz on. The end of 2003 the blind lottery ONCE announced that they would get out of the sport of cycling.

Liberty Seguros

Successor as the main sponsor was the insurance company " Liberty Seguros ". Added to this was with Roberto Heras of the former noble helper of Lance Armstrong and two-time winner of the Vuelta. Now it should Saiz at last succeed in presenting a Tour winner. While Heras disappointed in the Tour de France, he could at least win the Vuelta and thus Manolo Saiz was after seven years finally celebrate a great victory. In 2005, Manolo Saiz, presented with the German company Würth a co-sponsor. The team now had the name " Liberty Seguros - Würth ". The year 2005 was similar to the previous sporty. Again you disappointed in the Tour de France and again was Roberto Heras make everything good again when he won the Vuelta. The prejudice against Saiz, that he was not able to create a Tour winner, was thus continue to exist. But he managed it but to form a team that can win a three-week tour. Roberto Heras was his fourth Vuelta win the record holder.

Dark side

But a few weeks after the triumph of Roberto Heras came the news that a drug test from him was positive. Manolo Saiz suspended, as is common in cycling, Roberto Heras, but explained fully to stand behind him and believe in his innocence. Even before the B sample was opened, they doubted the result of the laboratory and spoke of unreliable methods to analyze the samples. The B sample was also positive, and Manolo Saiz had to lay off Roberto Heras, who lost his fourth Vuelta success to Denis Menshov.

Successful resumption

By doping case Heras, the current specific very clean Spanish cycling had suffered damage to their image. But Saiz was advised by successes positive again in the headlines. As a new leader came in early 2006 Alexander Vinokourov, who was the sole captain of the Liberty Seguros - Würth now. But it was at the beginning of the season others who shone. So Jörg Jaksche came at Tirreno- Adriatico on place 2, Alberto Contador just missed the victory in the Basque Country Tour and both came together at the Tour de Romandie on the 2nd and 4th addition there was another stage win in Paris-Nice by Andrei Kaschetschkin. Manolo Saiz could be quite happy with the spring.

Doping scandal Fuentes

During the Giro d' Italia in May 2006 Manolo Saiz was arrested during a raid in Madrid by the Spanish police. At the time he was with the sports doctor of his team, Eufemiano Fuentes, been. Included in the package Saiz had 60,000 euros, which were very likely intended for the purchase of drugs. In the raid, hundreds of blood bags and countless doping agents were at Fuentes confiscated and a list of code names that should be the list of "customers" of Fuentes. Fuentes must have an adequate supply of doping substances and enriched blood many riders of " Liberty Seguros ". Since February had been bugged phones in the course of the so-called "Operation Puerto " and monitors the laboratory of Fuentes by camera. The main sponsor of " Liberty Seguros " immediately allocated a dedication. On June 3, it was announced that a Kazakh consortium named " Astana " new main sponsor is. Alexander Vinokourov had put to relationships to his home to find a new financial backer for the team. Thus, the team could start under new names, had the ProTour license re-issue and thus there were no problems due to its involvement in the doping scandal, Manolo Saiz resigned as manager of the team and put his other offices in various international bodies down. However, he was still together with the manager of the team, Pablo Anton, part owner of the company " Active Bay ", which ran the team. There were oral agreements between Anton, Saiz and Alexander Vinokourov gave that Vinokourov buys together with the main sponsor of the society to participate under the name "Team Astana " to race. But it never came. The majority of the driver of the former Liberty Seguros team was incorporated into a new operating company, which is headed by Swiss license by the Luxembourg Marc Biver.

  • Cycling official
  • Spaniard
  • Man
  • Born in 1959