Italy's Davide Rebellin will not race in his home Classic, the Giro di Lombardia, this Saturday due to recent doping cases in his team. This last week, the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced his Gerolsteiner teammates, Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl, tested positive during the Tour de France.
"I am very sorry because Lombardia means a lot to me," said Rebellin, second at the Olympics, to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It is a race that I like and that I have never been able to win. ... I can't do anything about it. I don't agree with it, but I am forced to respect it."
Schumacher and Kohl tested positive for a third generation of EPO – CERA (Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator) – based on controls taken at the Tour de France, July 5 to 27. The AFLD tested blood samples from the race in the last two weeks after urine samples were inconclusive during the race.
Gerolsteiner suspended its racing for eight days based on its membership in the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC). MPCC's rules require a suspension of the whole team when there are two positive tests results within 12 months. Lombardia was due to be its last race and so its season ended with Paris-Tours last Sunday.
"This decision was maybe taken in the heat of the moment," said Rebellin, 37, of Gerolsteiner's non-participation in Lombardia. "This morning [yesterday - ed.] I tried to call them and they did not respond. In the afternoon, I received a two-line email."
Rebellin's highest placing in Lombardia came in 2002 when he finished second to Michele Bartoli. He finished fifth in 2007.