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Davide Rebellin in action during the 2008 Olympic road race.
Italian returns to racing on April 27
Davide Rebellin has said that he is aiming to win a place on the Italian team at next year’s world championships, even though his positive test for CERA came while representing his country at the 2008 Olympic Games. The 39-year-old is currently serving a two-year suspension, which ends on April 27 next year.
“I want to come back with a squad that will enable me to ride the biggest races, the classics above all, and to earn a blue jersey at the next world championships,” Rebellin told Il Giornale di Vicenza.
Rebellin took the silver medal in the 2008 Olympics road race in Beijing, but a retroactive analysis of a sample from those games showed up positive for the artificial blood-booster CERA. The Italian’s positive test was announced in April 2009, shortly after he had won Flèche Wallone. He had also finished 4th in the world championships in Varese in the intervening period.
Rebellin confirmed that he is already in negotiations with teams for next season as his suspension draws to a close and that he plans to race for two more seasons before retiring.
“I’ve had various contacts, but there are two proposals that interest me most,” he said. “I’ll decide by the middle of December.”
Rebellin also said that he followed a heavy training schedule during 2010 and will have covered 33,000km by the end of December, just 2,000km short of his usual yearly total.
“I’ve always trained as though I had to race the following week,” Rebellin explained. “I replaced races with specific training to simulate competition. It was only during the recent flooding that I didn’t ride for two days in a row.”
The Italian divides his time between Monaco and his birthplace near Verona, and has continued to train in illustrious company during his suspension.
“In Montecarlo, I often meet with Vinokourov and Gilbert. There are also a lot of Australians there but they take too many breaks in bars for my tastes,” he said. “When I come back to Italy, I usually train with Gatto, and with the Ballan and Tosatto group.”
During his suspension, Rebellin established a business that offers training and preparation advice to amateur cyclists and he will begin his build-up to the 2011 season in earnest by leading a group on a training camp in Marbella in January.