Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
MILAN (VN) — Italian Davide Rebellin will not be among team CCC Sprandi-Polkowice’s nine men in orange when the Giro d’Italia starts in Liguria Saturday, May 9.
The 43-year-old, who won the third stage and took the overall in the Tour of Turkey on Tuesday, left a sour taste in the mouths of many after he doped his way to an Olympic silver medal in 2008.
Giro organizer RCS Sport explained that he is persona non grata for the 2015 race, despite handing one of five wildcards to his Polish Professional Continental team. Rebellin, who calls Monaco, France home, said as well that he will have to make other plans for the month of May.
“I won’t be doing the Giro,” Rebellin said ahead of the Tour of Turkey.
“I would have wanted to do it, but the team decided against it.”
Inside sources told VeloNews that Rebellin went to RCS Sport’s headquarters in Milan to speak with Mauro Vegni. When asked for confirmation, both Vegni and Rebellin denied the meeting happened.
“It’s just a decision of the team,” added Rebellin without saying he had been ‘sbarrato’ or barred by RCS Sport.
The team stands out with its orange kits, a color not seen since the days of teams Rabobank and Euskaltel. Rebellin also adds to the impact.
With Turkey on Tuesday, he has won two times this year. He and Pole Maciej Paterski hauled in the team’s biggest results in 2014, with the Giro dell’Emilia and a stage in the Tour of Norway, respectively.
Rebellin’s anti-doping results also stand out.
After winning the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and going into the 2009 season to win the Flèche Wallonne, tests showed that he used EPO in the previous summer Games in China.
Rebellin never spoke out about what happened and or the wrongdoing.
The result shamed Italy. It was not only the test itself — he became its first Italian athlete to ever be stripped of a medal.
The sour taste remains.
RCS Sport cycling director, Vegni, told VeloNews in January that Rebellin and Schumacher, who tested positive for EPO after two stage wins in the 2008 Tour de France, were riders who would cause controversy.
“I’d never say that they can’t come or that I don’t want them, but I’d like to have a Giro start without riders who stir controversy,” Vegni said.
“The team is going to make the choice. If they do bring them, then there’s controversy, and I’d like the Giro under clear skies.”