Italian Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat Polkowice) will take the start line at the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday for the first time since serving a two-year suspension that ended in 2011, and he aims to try to win it. The Polish pro continental team believes that his form is good enough for a podium, and in light of his strong performances this spring, it has extended an offer on his contract up to another two years.
“I think he can make the podium,” CCC Polsat director Piotr Wadecki told L’Equipe on Friday. “He thinks victory. He’s motivated, he knows he can show his form, and he will play his last card.”
Rebellin, born in 1971, will be the oldest rider in the peloton during this year’s Amstel Gold Race. He won the 2004 edition, along with La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, making him one of two riders in the peloton, alongside Philippe Gilbert (BMC), to have won the Ardennes classics triple crown.
During this career, he has raced for Team Polti, Liquigas, Gerolsteiner and Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli. He tested positive for the blood-boosting drug CERA in a retroactive test about eight months after placing second during the 2008 Olympic road race in Beijing. He served a two-year suspension and returned to the peloton with Miche-Guerciotti followed by Meridiana-Kamen, and has been with CCC Polsat Polkowice since 2013.
The Polish team received its first wildcard invitation to the Amstel Gold Race this year. "I'm still very motivated,” Rebellin said. “Yes, I’m still happy. It’s a bit strange because I know almost no one in the bunch. Many young riders come to me for advice, they tell me I’m their idol, even colleagues. "
He’s had a successful season so far with a third place during Stage 1 of the Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta Del Sol in February, third place at the Vuelta a Murcia in March and seventh place at Brabantse Pijl last Wednesday.
He may be in the running for a podium at the Amstel Gold Race, but will have no chance to try and add another Ardennes classics triple crown to his list of successes this year because his team did not get wildcard invitations to La Flèche Wallonne or Liège-Bastogne-Liège.