Saiz believes the Tour is too big: (http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/?id=2003/feb03/feb24news2). "Nowadays cycling is being seen more and more as a synonym for the Tour de France and vice-versa," Saiz was recently quoted in El Correo. "I think this is wrong and this is bad." Although the ONCE years clashed with the reign of Miguel Indurain in the Tour in the early 90's, and then Lance Armstrong in the last four years, Saiz' words can't be interpreted as jealousy. Focusing on "our responsibilities" instead of "their responsibilities" Manolo paints the monster: "We can't create something so big that makes everything else look like an ant," he stated. "If we do so we're creating a monster that will eat us." Manolo does not pay tribute to riders who specialise in the Tour. "I can't accept that a rider who is only focused on the Tour could be considered more important than the seasonal riders," he said emphatically. "How it is possible that Museeuw or Zabel are treated as if they had no value while Armstrong is looked like he was the Holy Bible?" He is also concerned that the Tour is impacting on other big races in the form of TV rights. "Each year, the Tour bills more and more for TV rights," he observes. "While the Vuelta, Giro and World Cup are billing less and less each time." Speaking as the president of the team's association, Saiz adds, "After all, of the Grand Tours, the Tour the one that distributes the least portion of its gains to the teams. We [the teams] make the grandeur of the Tour, and it rewards us with nothing." "I love the Tour, but I believe that cycling is (or must be) bigger than the Tour." Manolo Saiz is conscious that Tour fever has infested his ONCE team leader Joseba Beloki, who declared that he would prefer to be second in the Tour rather than win the Vuelta. "I'm trying to change Beloki's mentality," confessed Saiz, "Because that is surely an error. You get a second position in the Tour? Great you're a good rider. But if you win the Vuelta or the Giro you are a champion. Win, that's what differentiates a champion from a good rider. Beloki must understand that once for all." "After the last Vuelta I asked my riders 'Do you know who was the winner? The one that had the ambition to win'. Ambition produces champions. Conformity produces losers." However for Saiz, these words do not even count as involuntary praise of Armstrong. "For Armstrong only the Tour counts, nothing else," said Manolo. "After the Tour he goes back home to only reappear the following year. I don't think that's good." Finally, Saiz recalled the good old days. "Today cycling is monotonous," he lamented. "When I was young, Ocaña and Merckx used to escape from the peloton five climbs before the finish line. Now there are still 50 riders at the bottom of the last climb. OK! We then have 10 minutes of top level cycling, but we've had five hours of boredom behind us."" I too believe that the TDF has too much importance. I think the UCI and should give more points to other races. Perhaps the UCI could also give large prize money to the World cup winner.