Italy's Davide Rebellin promises to return to racing despite being stripped of his Olympic silver medal Tuesday.
"Even if I am not believed and I will be blamed, I will return to race to show who Davide Rebellin is to everyone," Rebellin said in a statement given to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
He finished second in the men's road race August 9 at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, but test results released April 28 this year revealed he doped with blood booster EPO-CERA. The Italian anti-doping tribunal (TNA) has yet to issue a related suspension, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ordered Tuesday that he return his medal.
"We are stunned because the IOC has taken a step that gives little respect to the parties," Rebellin's lawyer Fausto Pavone said. "It waited to see our defence, then after six months and with reasoning we don't agree with, it took action."
Rebellin will appeal the IOC's decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), said Pavone. They have 21 days to present their case to the CAS.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) met in Rome yesterday to discuss Rebellin's case.CONI is in charge of retrieving the medal from Rebellin and the €75,000 it awarded him.
Rebellin and German Stefan Schumacher are two of six athletes who tested positive for EPO at the Beijing Olympics. The IOC disqualified Schumacher, Bahrain's Rashid Ramzi (gold medallist in the 1500m in athletics), Greece's Athanasia Tsoumeleka (ninth in the 20km walking event) and Croatia's Vanja Perisic (sixth in round 1, heat 3 of 800m in athletics) yesterday.
However, it did not disqualify Dominican Republic's Yudelquis Maridalin Contreras (fifth in the 53kg weightlifting event) after counter-analysis failed to confirm the initial result.
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