Saiz hangs onto ProTour license

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) (Image credit: Sirotti)

Manolo Saiz, former leader of the Liberty Seguros team, may hold on to his ProTour license for 2007 according to Belgian newspaper Nieuwsblad who spoke with UCI ProTour Manager Alain Rumpf. Astana had hoped to take over the license from Saiz.

Both teams were part of the same overall entity, Active Bay Sports, which is co-owned by Saiz, a major stockholder. Saiz does not plan to sell or transfer his license. So if Astana cannot acquire the license from Saiz, it will have to apply for its own ProTour license. But the confusion will not end with the licenses. While Astana took over sponsorship of Liberty Seguros mid-season, there remains a dispute as to which entity owns the contracts of Astana riders like Alexander Vinokourov. To complicate matters further, the new management of Astana has set itself up and signed contracts with riders like Andreas Klöden.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.