Vinokourov to cut ties with Saiz, run cycling team

MADRID, Spain -- Alexander Vinokourov has said
that his Astana-Wuerth team will end its remaining connections
with its former director, Manolo Saiz, following his
implication in the latest doping scandal to hit the sport.

Vinokourov said that Saiz's shares in the Active Bay group
that controls the team would be bought up by Kazakh businesses
that have grouped together under the name of Astana and that he
himself would become the team's sporting director in the future.

Saiz, one of the leading figures in Spanish cycling in the
last decade, was released on bail in May after being detained
for questioning following raids on addresses in Madrid and

Liberty Seguros withdrew its sponsorship of the team soon
after and Saiz was forced to step aside as its sporting
director, but he continued to hold a share in the Active Bay
group that controlled Astana-Wuerth, its successor team.

"It is right that he [Saiz] gives up cycling and that he
isn't seen any more," Vinokourov was quoted as saying on Spanish
website todociclismo.com on Sunday. "It is better that he
concentrates on something else now.

"Within two years I will become the team's sporting
director," he added.

Vinokourov was one of the favorites to win this year's Tour
de France, but was unable to start the race after five of his
teammates appeared on a list of riders named in a report on the
doping investigation.

The Kazakh said he was now going to concentrate on the world
championships in Salzburg in September to try to salvage a bad
season. "Then I will be back for the 2007 Tour."