In his first interview since being cleared of a crime against public health at the conclusion of the Operation Puerto trial two weeks ago, former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team boss Manolo Saiz has described himself as much sadder man than he was before the Puerto investigation started in 2006. Asked about his next move, he said “the best thing I can do is forget and move on”.
Speaking on Spanish national radio, Saiz declared, “Nobody can return what has been taken from me”, explaining that he has sometimes struggled to deal with his situation over the past seven years. “You know you are doing something very well but you voluntarily step away from it until the truth comes out and as that ends up taking such a long time you end up alone… and you’re not even the same person. In this case, you’re not the same Manolo that you were before.”
He went on to describe himself “more subdued, thoughtful, much more insecure and affected in many other ways”. He admitted the extensive media coverage had impacted on him, saying the Puerto case created more headlines than terrorist activities and political corruption. “But you just have to accept it and turn the page,” he said.
Now 53, Saiz believes he still has time to return to some kind of role within sport and, “if something suitable turns up”, perhaps even cycling. In his opinion, he added, the world of cycling “is in exactly the same position as every other sport”, explaining “there are many more good people in it than bad.”