International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid has confirmed that Russian rider Alexandr Kolobnev will move up into the bronze medal position for last year's Beijing Olympic Games in China, following the announcement that Italy's Davide Rebellin is to be stripped of his Olympic silver medal.
“I got an email on my phone an hour ago from the [International Olympic Committee] IOC confirming the [Rebellin] news,” he told Cyclingnews. “It is up to the Italian authorities now to deal with it. Today’s news is not a huge surprise – we were expecting this.
“The medals will be rearranged now, with Kolobnev getting bronze,” added McQuaid.
One day specialist Rebellin was the best-placed Italian rider in the 2008 event, going close to succeeding his Italian team-mate Paolo Bettini as Olympic champion. He was edged out by the Spaniard Samuel Sanchez in a six-man gallop to the line.
Rebellin went on to place fourth in the UCI World Road Championship road race, and played a role in helping his team-mate Alessandro Ballan to take the title. He then moved from the Gerolsteiner team to the Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli squad, and had a strong early season.
His top performances included wins on two stages of the Vuelta a Andalucia, a Classics victory in Flèche Wallonne and third in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
In April it was announced that several Beijing entrants from various sports had tested positive for CERA; Rebellin was subsequently confirmed as one of those. The 38-year-old is facing a ban of between two and four years, and so his career is likely over.
“That is it, it is another chapter is behind us,” said McQuaid. “I just hope we are moving forward and we are not going to have this again at such an important event as the Olympic Games.”
The last time an Olympic cyclist was stripped of a medal was after the 2004 Games, when Colombian Maria Luisa Calle Williams tested positive for heptaminol and lost her bronze medal to American Erin Mirabella in the women's points race. However Calle was able to prove her positive came because she took a migraine medicine that metabolized into the banned substance, and had her medal returned in 2005.
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