By Gregor Brown
Ardennes specialist Davide Rebellin is close to an agreement with Team Diquigiovanni, according to team manager Gianni Savio, who expects a decision early next week. Savio is in competition with at least two other squads to sign the 37-year-old Italian.
"There are advanced negotiations with Davide Rebellin – nothing is signed. I met last Thursday with Rebellin and we will meet again Tuesday or Wednesday. Both of us – the team and him – have shown intentions to arrive at an agreement," said Savio to Cyclingnews.
Italy's Rebellin – winner of 2004 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and 2008 Paris-Nice – went on the job hunt when Team Gerolsteiner announced it was leaving the sport. Mauro Gianetti's (ex-Saunier Duval) new ProTour team managed by Alvaro Crespi also showed interest in the rider from Veneto.
Rebellin specialises in the Ardennes classics – Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège – and short stage races. Savio expects his Professional Continental team would have a good chance at receiving invites to Rebellin's key appointments.
"We are a wild card team and we will apply again next year. I think that we showed that we are a good team, with 27 wins, and were lot of times we were better than ProTour teams. With Rebellin in the team we should be able to race the Ardennes Classics. But, in cycling, nothing is secure."
The team gave its preliminary list of 16 rider to the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Friday, which will include Gilberto Simoni, Francesco Ginanni and new signee Elia Rigotto. Savio foresees two to four more riders added to his 2009 team before the final cut off date of November 31.