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‘I kept on racing because of the ban’ – Davide Rebellin’s three decades in pro cycling

Davide Rebellin with a special place on the start line for his final race at Veneto Classic (Image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency) There wasn’t much…

Friday, Oct 21

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Davide Rebellin with a special place on the start line for his final race at Veneto Classic (Image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency)

There wasn’t much by way of pomp or ceremony, but the occasion was marked all the same. Shortly before the Veneto Classic got underway on Sunday morning, Davide Rebellin was ushered into a spot a couple of metres ahead of the rest of the peloton and he stood there for a minute or so wearing an uneasy smile. The shyness of earlier years may no longer possess him, but it never really left him.

The dance music blaring over the public address system was eventually turned down a notch or so, and the speaker informed the sparse crowds on Treviso’s Piazza Matteotti that this would be the last race of Rebellin’s 30-year career as a professional cyclist.

A smattering of applause broke out on the roadside for the retiring local rider and rippled gently through the bunch, though it wasn’t clear if all the young men lining up behind Rebellin had even heard the speaker’s brief invocation.

Only 20 of the 112-strong peloton had even been born when Rebellin made his professional debut at the GP Camaiore in the faraway summer of 1992. Most won’t have seen his Classic wins in the distant noughties. Many won’t even remember the fall that followed his positive test for CERA at the 2008 Olympics.

Yet, at 51 years of age, he was somehow still there.

A photographer drew in to capture the moment, as Rebellin […]

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