Davide Rebellin has died after being hit by a truck while out riding on Wednesday morning.
According to reports from Il Messaggero, 51-year-old Rebellin, the Italian former winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, was on a training ride near Montebello Vicentino when he was hit by a “heavy truck” that was exiting a nearby motorway junction.
His last professional race was the Veneto Classic last month, at which he finished 30th.
Initial reports in Il Messaggero suggest that the driver of the truck didn’t stop, although the Italian news source suggests that it is not yet clear as to whether the driver realised what had occurred.
Local Carabinieri, Italian police, are currently working to “reconstruct” the dynamics of the crash, and also to trace the truck driver.
Rebellin made his debut in professional cycling in the early 90’s, riding for the Italian GB-MG Maglificio team. His first success came the following year, with first place in the overall classification of the Hofbrau Cup, a short German stage race.
In 1996, success started to flow for the Italian as he won a stage of the Giro d’Italia and wore the Maglia Rosa for six consecutive days. Rebellin finished sixth overall in his home Grand Tour that year.
The following year his upward trajectory in the sport would continue as he tasted victory at the Clásica San Sebastián in 1996.
He would go on to win a plethora of one day races, including Liège in 2004, the Amstel Gold race the same year, La Flèche Wallonne on three separate occasions in 2004, 2007, and 2009, and the Giro dell’Emilia in 2006.
Rebellin also won Tirreno-Adriatico in 2001 and Paris-Nice in 2008, as well as a silver medal in the road race at the 2008 Bejing Olympics, which he was later stripped of.
Throughout his lengthy career, the Italian rode for some of the most well known teams in professional cycling at the time. Team Polti, Française des Jeux (now Groupama FDJ) and Gerolsteiner. He ended with 61 wins.
A low point in his career was his involvement in a doping scandal. The Italian was banned for two years and stripped of his Olympic medal following a positive test for CERA, a banned substance during the Beijing games in 2008.
He spent the following 14 years of his career at Pro-Continental and Continental level teams, but occasionally delivered results, such as winning the 2014 Giro dell'Emilia.
In 2016, he told Cyclingnews that he was "bitter" about how he was treated following his ban.
“Yes, certainly, I’m a little bitter about it alright,” Rebellin said. “I’ve lost more than seven years of my career, and it’s been hard to see others who’ve found more doors left open for them.”
Cycling Weekly passes on its condolences to his friends and family.
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