July 03, 2006
Vinokourov: That was my last chance at Tour victory
Eurosport | Vino's Astana to buy out Saiz Alexandre Vinokourov says he will never win the Tour de France -- as a rider. "It was without a doubt my last chance to win the Tour - and it's been stolen from me," Vinokourov told Marca. Instead, Vinokourov wants to lead the consortium of companies that stepped in when Liberty Seguros quit sponsoring the team to create the peloton's first Kazakh squad. He wants to buy out the ownership interest of Manolo Saiz, so his Active Bay company's license would be held by a new Kazakh entity. And in two years, Vinokourov says he would take over as sporting director. Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, and Assan Bazayev are all Kazakhs, and Vinokourov's reputation at home is what drew the consortium into sponsoring the team. Vinokourov believes the Astaná group might have been able to avoid being eliminated from the Tour:
"We made a mistake when Astana took the place vacated by Liberty Seguros back in June. We thought we had done the most we could at the time, but we really should have already bought out Saiz straight away. "That was the only thing which would have saved the team for the departure. But I can't think of everything, and my mind was preoccupied by my Tour preparations."
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