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Manolo Saiz to head new U23 and elite amateur team

Controversial team manager Manolo Saiz, arrested in 2006 during the Operation Puerto investigation, will head a new U23 and elite team

Manolo Saiz, a name forever linked with both the most successful Spanish cycling team in history, ONCE — and the country’s largest doping controversies, Operation Puerto — has taken the reigns of a new under-23 and elite amateur team.

Saiz was arrested by the Spanish Civil Guard in May of 2006 following the Operation Puerto doping investigation, and the ProTour license of his management company was stripped and awarded to Astana. He was acquitted of charges relating to Operation Puerto in 2013.

The new squad, dubbed Aldro Team, is Saiz’ first foray into the world of pro cycling since 2006. The team has laid out a five-year plan with ambitions of becoming a professional team. Reports also circulated in late 2014 of Saiz joining the staff of the Basque Baqué Campos under-23 team.

Aldro Energy is an energy trading company based in Cantabria, a region of northern Spain. “The attention of a company like Aldro energy to the sport of cycling in general and racing in particular is certainly great news,” Saiz said in a statement.

Aldro will begin with 20 cyclists, mostly Spanish, according to a statement released by the organization. Coaches will include Diaz Zabala and David Etxebarria, both former riders under Saiz’ ONCE squad.

Saiz expressed interest in returning to the sport in 2012, prior to his acquittal

The new team is committed to “the values of competitiveness and commitment to fair play,” according to a statement on the its website.