Davide Rebellin: “I want to be an example of longevity”

Davide Rebellin is one of the most experienced riders in the professional peloton. The Italian rider who is currently at the Tour of Qatar, wants to share his knowledge with the young riders.

“I want to be an example of longevity. I’m showing that if one wants to, he can keep going into his 40s,” Rebellin told Velonews after the first stage. “It’s an example. Even now many riders say to me, ‘Looking at you makes me want to consider to keep going.’ Not just the amateurs doing so, but the other professionals here in the group.”

The Italian from Veneto won the Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice general classifications, and in 2004 he swept the Ardennes classics — the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Last year, he won the Coppa Agostoni ahead of grand tour star Vincenzo Nibali, who is 13 years younger.

Those in sport, however, remember him as the first Italian to hand back an Olympic medal, a member of a notorious group that brought the public’s attention to a new super EPO, CERA. That status perhaps outweighs and overshadows any win he achieved before and after the 2008 Beijing Games.

“For sure, the two-year suspension was very bad,” he added. “I lost contacts, teams didn’t want me, the organizers didn’t want me. My salary was cut by at least half, or even more, much more. It was not just a two-year suspension, but six or seven. I had to restart with small teams to be in a team that is a little larger now.”