I am Manolo Saiz and I want to come back to cycling, to run a team again, to be a player, a man among men. It is simply my destiny. I am Manolo. I have hair on my chest.
Perhaps you recognize my name. I ran the powerful Once squad and then Liberty Seguros. We had some issues with doping, things I prefer not to discuss, the past is past. I do not dwell on what I had for dinner last week. A bicycle moves forward, reverse is for electric wheelchairs and journalists who write lies.
I make no apologies, I admit nothing. I have served a sentence I did not deserve and am now free to do as I wish. Only the naive expect apologies and I am a man among men.
I have had much time to consider some things — I do not call them mistakes. I prefer to consider them oversights, my process was not sufficiently careful, I did not foresee certain eventualities. However, I have new plans and will not repeat that which led to my long winters away from this sport I love.
For example, cell phones can be incriminating and I do not wish to use them anymore. A man talks to another man, eye to eye, ear to ear. There are no misunderstandings or evidence. The same may be said of computers because they hold many things that are best hidden. I have a new system that must remain mine alone, Manolo’s way.
I have learned my lesson about code names. My associates were perhaps too fanciful in the use of certain names and this had unfortunate consequences. I have no need to discuss these things; I only state for example that using the name of a rider’s dog is unwise. Correct preparation is not a game.
I must be more careful in my professional associations, this I know from Operacion Puerto. I must be honest and admit I always disliked Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. A brilliant man but sloppy and I cannot have that happen again. I have always liked Daisy Fuentes. She is a woman among women but obviously has no expertise in blood boosting — but I love her pilates workout. At 50, I am fitter than ever.
I have taken a page from those who are perhaps more clever than myself. I have just made a sizable donation to Mr. McQuaid. A monetary gift to the UCI. I think, down the road, this could be handy. There are many ways to gain favor and I appreciate the flexibility of this organization. Mr. McQuaid is a man of the world, a man in the way Manolo is a man. These things need no explanation.
I shall return for I am a man reborn. I shall keep my legendary temper under control. I will not rage or threaten or imply acts of violent retribution. I would never again say things like ‘I stuffed a finger up the Tour’s arse.” I am older and wiser, I have a new system which I have alluded to, yet my dreams are as big as ever. I am Manolo, I cannot think small.
Some call me a pariah, a symbol of the old way of doing things, the dirty way, the way of doping. They say cycling is cleaner than ever, a more beautiful sport than ever. They do not wish to welcome me back to the friendship of the team buses. But I am Manolo. A man among men. I say there is always room for a little dirt.