The truck driver who allegedly struck and killed Davide Rebellin on Wednesday has been identified and traced following cooperation between Italian, Slovenian, German and Austrian authorities.
Rebellin, who was just 51-years-old, was killed instantly after being run over by a truck driver while on a training ride in Montebello Vicentino on Wednesday.
He had only just retired from professional cycling and had participated in a Monaco criterium the previous weekend.
The 62-year-old driver of the lorry faces a charge in Italy of vehicular homicide, but although he has been located in Germany, has not been arrested as the offence is not covered under the German penal code.
According to a report by Il Gazzettino, the driver was fully aware that he had struck Rebellin, but nevertheless, still fled the scene. The Italian newspaper claims that witnesses saw the driver exit his Volvo truck after the crash and approach Rebellin, before then getting back into his vehicle and driving away.
Initial reports of the incident say that Rebellin was struck by the vehicle as it sped out of a motorway exit before hitting him.
According to Il Gazzettino, the German driver had also committed two previous traffic offences on Italian roads.
In 2001, he pleaded guilty to a non-fatal hit-and-run incident, although the sentence was later quashed.
In 2014, the same man was charged in Chieti with driving under the influence of alcohol.
The man works for a haulage firm based in Recke in northern Germany and was in Italy on Wednesday to collect cargo from a freight terminal in Verona. After fleeing the scene of the collision with Rebellin, the driver allegedly made a delivery in Berlin before returning to the north.
Thanks to quick-thinking witnesses near the scene of Rebellin’s death, Italian police were able to track the driver, also by using footage from a nearby CCTV camera.
Giuseppe Moscati, commander of the local Carabinieri, said that work in Italy and abroad had enabled a “meticulous reconstruction” of the movements of the German driver.
He said: "We don't know if that will help to relieve the pain that the local and wider Italian community is feeling, but I want to thank everybody – from the institutions to ordinary people – who have helped the Carabinieri in their inquiry."
Tributes to Rebellin have poured in from across the cycling community in the past two days.
Philippe Gilbert, who raced the recent Monaco criterium with Rebellin posted a message on Twitter which said: “A few days ago we were doing our last pro race in Monaco and today you left to join the stars... I am very sad we will miss you amico. RIP Davide Rebellin.”
The organiser of the Giro d'italia, RCS, also suspended the presentation of the 2023 Maglia Rosa on Wednesday in light of the former professional cyclists tragic death.
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