Davide Rebellin is preparing to race following the end of his suspension for doping at the 2008 Olympics. The 39-year-old underscores his intentions almost daily with updates on his Facebook page.

“I am continuing my period of semi-recovery, more or less three times a week to the gym and some bike rides of two to three hours,” he wrote yesterday. “I prefer riding the bike!”

A positive dope test for the third generation of blood booster EPO, CERA, at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing put an end to him riding his bike in races. He won a silver medal in the road race when he finished second to Spaniard Samuel Sánchez, a medal the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) later forced him to return along with €75,000 in winnings. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not release the results until April the following year, after Rebellin won Flèche Wallonne and finished third at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

He claimed there was an error and fought to keep his medal by appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In September this year, the cycling federation in Monaco, where he holds a pro racing licence, handed him a two-year ban: April 27, 2009 to April 27, 2011. He has only five months left to prepare.

“For the entire month of November, I will only go on easy rides,” Rebellin wrote earlier this month. “I will start my true preparations in the first week of December.”

He figures he will end the year with 33,000 kilometres of training, only 2,000 shy of the 35,000 kilometres he would cover before his suspension. Part of the time, he trains with other residents of Monaco, Alexandre Vinokourov and Philippe Gilbert. He avoids riding with the Australians, saying they stop for coffee too often, but they do not agree with his habits.

Before the IOC busted Rebellin for super EPO, police filmed him seven years prior asking for drugs. Rebellin and his wife Selina Martinello were caught on police surveillance video at Doctor Enrico Lazzaro’s office May 14, 2001, and with Lazzaro at a Bassano del Grappa hotel at the Giro d’Italia that year. At the hotel, Rebellin reportedly bought testosterone and EPO.

Lazzaro later received a 14-month suspension, but Rebellin continued racing, winning the Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2004, and the Paris-Nice stage race in 2008.

The three-week Giro d’Italia stage race starts May 7 next year and could be Rebellin’s first race back. Vinokourov, who ban for blood doping, is reportedly interested in having him join his Astana team. Rebelling may ride in support Astana’s new signee Roman Kreuziger.

Rebellin said in a recent interview with Italian newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza that he will decide by mid-December where he will race.

Related links
November 2009: Rebellin stripped of Olympic silver after EPO positive
Rebellin in denial after CERA positive

Davide Rebellin: Rider Profile
CERA: New scourge of the peloton

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  • Dennis

    Relative to other sports, biking’s two year ban seems excessive to me. It is detection that we lack. As for Rebellin, I thought he was the greatest! He was one of my favorite riders of the 2000’s, so when he got busted, I was shocked. Had I not already been (figuratively speaking) numb from all the other dope busts, I might have taken the bust personally–not really, but David’s bust saddened me. Still, he’s done his time, and he is ready to race. Now though, David is nearly forty and will have to race clean, so he probably will not make much of an impact. He should have stopped juicing when everyone else did…They have stopped, no?

  • Cliff

    Well they let David Millar back, so why not Rebellin?

  • geoff gartrell

    Another one in the peloton! I saw Rebellin sucking on an inhaler at the top of a climb in one race on tv. Maybe FOUR years ban would cure this dilema.

  • Matthew

    I agree completely with Mike on two years not being enough. We have still got a number of inevitable comebacks to look forward to: Stefan Schumacher, Thomas Dekker, Alejandro Valverde etc. etc.

    And when the question of doping comes up we’ll get no clarity or assurances, just the same sheepish answers and no doubt a sudden lack of understanding of a language they were able to conduct an interview in almost fluently up to that point.

    Pat McQuiad has a very good job and must have worked hard to get where he is and but I can’t understand how on the big issues in cycling he either doesn’t make a decision or makes the wrong ones. Or his version of the biggest issues facing cycling don’t align with mine.

    I appreciate as an outsider looking in there is probably a lot of conflicts and complexities I am not aware of – CAS, WADA, national governing bodies etc. and there is probably a fair amount of politics involved. But at the end of the day good leadership starts at the top and I think as a sport Cycling deserves better than it is getting at the moment.

  • mike kelly

    hey.every one is due a 2nd chance.hes made a mistake.let him get on with his life.
    good luck…

  • Mike

    This flags up two issues.
    Firstly the two year ban is not working. If it is no deterent, which clearly it is not, it must be increased. Secondly,any team that rushes to sign these dopers must be viewed with the utmost suspicion. If they cared about the sport or the fans they would have nothing to do with these cheats.
    They are still cheats as far as I am concerned. If they are now clean it is only because they were caught in the first place. If Rebelin had not tested positive he would still be doping.

  • Alan

    Hey, why not let him back, afterall, all the other cheating dopeheads seemed to get welcomed back into the fray !!!!!!!

    I just can’t understand the teams that are prepared to take them on. Beggars belief.

    But there again, ANYTHING is possible in our sport !

  • Andy

    What a mess – a total mess.