Despite the case against him being shelved, Spanish cyclist Oscar Sevilla is still suffering under the effects of the Operación Puerto doping scandal. Sevilla spent the 2007 season in relative anonymity while racing for the Relax-GAM team, and is unsure of his future with the team after it failed to gain renewal of its UCI Professional Continental license for 2008.
While waiting for Relax-GAM to try to meet the UCI's requirements for its license, which will be decided by the world body on Friday, Sevilla has had talks with the Portuguese Benfica team, but feels that his opportunities for being hired have been ruined by his alleged connection to the clinic of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, his former team doctor from his Kelme days. "I talked to the Portuguese team Benfica, but they are afraid to risk not being invited to the Vuelta. It seems that I have leprosy and which I will spread."
If Relax-GAM does not get its license renewed, his options are few. "I am on the dole," Sevilla said, if he the team goes under. "I am not sanctioned but I am not free to compete - these accusations are blocking my ability to work, I am guilty before being charged."
Sevilla, who won the white jersey of best young rider in the 2001 Tour de France and was twice runner-up in the Vuelta a España (2001, 2002) rode for the Phonak and T-Mobile squads after leaving Kelme in 2003, but was sacked from T-Mobile when the Operación Puerto was opened after a blood bag labeled 'Sevillian' was uncovered. He said that there are ProTour teams who have expressed interest in hiring him, but are fearful that the Operación Puerto case may once again rear its head and cause problems for their team.
"The silly thing is that I have my professional cycling license. This is a real injustice," Sevilla continued. While other riders who have had alleged connections to the case, like Alejandro Valverde, who shared the distinction with Sevilla of having blood bags with EPO in them connected to him, continue to race and have lucrative careers, Sevilla continues to train without any assurance that he will have a job in 2008. "I am training as always. I feel very well. I do not understand why I have to leave professional cycling. But, obviously, if I see that I have no choice."
The 31 year-old has suffered from the frustrations, sometimes breaking down from the stress. "I cried a lot from the feeling of impotence, because I did not stop fighting for what I want. It is hard to feel marginalized, but I make any attempt to bring the best possible."