Just days after Chris Horner's agent Baden Cooke advised his client to retire, claiming there was no market for a 44-year-old cyclist, 44-year-old cyclist Davide Rebellin has signed a new contract with CCC Sprandi Polkowice.
Few riders can boast such a sustained period of success in the pro peloton as Rebellin, with the Italian having won a race in every season that he's (fully) competed in since 1997.
“The heart always has the last word and seeing that my body and my mind are ready for new battles, I’m going to carry on for another season in search of more emotions to share with everyone,” Rebellin wrote on his Facebook page.
“The enthusiasm of a child combined with 23 seasons of experience, with high and lows that have made me understanding, will help me give my best! Thanks to everyone for encouraging me to continue so much and thanks to CCC for this new adventure. I’m still too motivated and determined to call it a day. Passion has no age.”
Although it is his doping ban in the late 2000s that will overshadow his career - testing positive for Mircera after winning silver at the 2008 Olympic Games and receiving a two year ban, although he competed in parts of the 2009 and 2010 season.
Rebellin has always denied doping.
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Before the ban, having turned professional in 1992, Rebellin enhanced his reputation as a Classics specialist by winning a then unprecedented Ardennes treble in 2004, and winning two more Fleche Wallonne titles in 2007 and 2009.
He also wore the Giro d'Italia's pink leader's jersey in 1996, when he finished sixth overall, although he has not finished a Grand Tour since 2000, withdrawing from the races in each of his 10 appearances between 2001 and 2008.
He did win a stage in Turkey and also triumphed in the late-season Coppa Agostoni to prove there's still life in his 44-year-old legs.
Rebellin's longevity means that his professional career started before some of his CCC Sprandi were even born. Tinkoff-Saxo's Matteo Tosatto (41), holds the title of the oldest man in the WorldTour, but Rebellin has three years on his fellow Italian.
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