|It’s taken more than a year, but ONCE doctor Nicolas Terrados has been cleared of all charges brought against him in the aftermath of the Festina doping scandal at the 1998 Tour de France.
Terrados was one of eight people charged in Lille with doping offences in December 2000. He was fined 4,573 euros (£3,000 approx) for breaking legislation dealing with the administration of dangerous substances and their movement across French borders. Among the others charged were Festina team manager Bruno Roussel and the man initially at the centre of the scandal, Festina soigneur Willy Voet.
Terrados was the only one of the eight convicted to appeal against his sentence, and the success of his appeal is apparently due to support from medical bodies that backed up his claim that substances he was carrying were entirely legitimate ‘so that he could look after riders and other members of the cycling team.’
Speaking from the Tour of Murcia where he is working with the ONCE team, Terrados said he was delighted with the outcome ‘but it doesn’t compensate in any way for the three years of unhappiness’ he has endured.
Terrados major regret was the impact of the withdrawal of charges has been far less than when they were made in the first place. He added that as a result of the case he had frequently been linked with other drug-related incidents, such as the recent cross-country skiing scandal at the Salt Lake City Olympics.