Davide Rebellin (licensed CC BY SA 2.0 on Flickr by Tete de la Course).PNG Ryan Mallon travels back in time to his teenage years to reflect on the late Italian’s legacy and one beautiful, chaotic week in March 2008
I never met Davide Rebellin. As far as I can remember, I don’t even think I was ever present at the side of the road for any of the 1,500-plus races the Italian participated in during his mammoth 30-year professional career.
But Rebellin, who was killed last week by a hit-and-run lorry driver at the age of 51 and just days into a well-earned retirement, had a profound impact on my own relationship with professional cycling and its unique sporting drama. And, of course, its ability to mimic life itself, with all its beauty, flaws, and ever-present grey areas.
In March 2008, I was still in the early courtship period of that relationship. By then, I was well-versed in the Tour de France and had flirted with some of the classics, propped up my GCSE French vocabulary with the official Tour guide bought in Paris before the 2007 race, had mastered a borrowed copy of Pro Cycling Manager, and – most important of all – loved riding my bike.
But I hadn’t yet fully submerged myself in what was back then still the very exotic, mythical world of European pro bike racing.
But that month’s Paris-Nice sealed the deal.
The 2008 Race to the Sun was pure chaos, a far cry from the regimented […]
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