Rebellin returns Olympic medal, vows to fight on
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Rebellin returns Olympic medal, vows to fight on

by Conal Andrews at 4:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Despite vowing earlier this month to fight to keep his Olympic medal, Italian rider Davide Rebellin has now handed back the silver he won in Beijing 2008. He has also made the 75,000 prize he earned available to CONI, the Italian Olympic committee.

However, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, his lawyers have indicated that this is in no way an admission of guilt. They say that he will continue to fight on legally in order to prove that several errors have been made.

Rebellin, long recognised as one of Italy’s best one-day riders, finished second to Samuel Sanchez in the Olympic road race on August 9th, 2009. He afterwards said that his silver medal was a ‘victory for clean cycling,’ but those words crumbled when it was revealed in April that he was one of six athletes who were positive for CERA, an advanced form of EPO.

Former Gerolsteiner team-mate Stefan Schumacher also tested positive for the same substance. This result backed up earlier tests taken during the Tour de France, where he won both time trial stages.

Both riders denied the charges and called for their B samples to be retested. The results were finally made available this month and the findings were validated, thus disqualifying both from the Games and making a two-year ban likely.

Rebellin’s lawyer Fausto Pavone said that they would appeal the result to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS). That is still the likely course of action, even if Rebellin will find it even more difficult to win his medal the second time round.

He’s also got a battle in store to retain the Flèche Wallonne win he took in April.

Rebellin recently stated on Facebook that he fully intends racing next year and is in training. He’s posted a message there thanking his fans for their support. “I’ve never had so many team mates. Hugs to everyone, and infinite thanks.”

He pledges to return and to show that he can win clean. Now 38, he could well end up being the oldest rider in the peloton by the time he has an opportunity to do that.

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