What's Cool In Road Cycling

In Memory of Davide Rebellin

Rest In Peace

Davide Rebellin died on Wednesday at the age of 51 after he was hit by a truck during a bike ride and didn’t survive the incident. The Italian cyclist officially ended his long racing career this year. Rebellin was a professional cyclist for over 30 years, this tribute only touches on the main points of his life on two wheels.

A young Davide Rebellin – Stuttgart World Championships 1991

Davide Rebellin was a passionate racing cyclist. He said in mid-2019, when he decided to continue racing for another year at the age of 47: “I have decided to keep racing because just thinking about it makes my heart beat faster.”

Huy - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Davide REBELLIN pictured during Fleche Wallone - Waalse Pijl 1995 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Flèche 1995

Davide Rebellin turned pro at the age of 20 with GB-MG Maglificio. That was halfway through 1992, Rebellin has been a professional bike racer for over 30 years. At GB-MG Maglificio, Rebellin was a teammate of the top riders in the peloton: Mario Cipollini, Johan Museeuw, Eros Poli, Fabio Baldato, Andrei Tchmil and Franco Ballerini. This didn’t intimidate Rebellin as he finished ninth in the Tour of Lombardy, amongst other good performances. In 1993, his first full season, he won the German Hofbrau Cup stage race. In the next years, Rebellin becomes a solid pro and his results show that he also has potential as a GC rider. 1996 stands out as he won a mountain stage in the Giro, wears the pink jersey for six days and is sixth in the final overall. At the end of the year he takes seventh place in the Vuelta a España, but he never again finishes high in the Grand Tours. He did win Tirreno-Adriatico (2001), Paris-Nice (2008) and a few other short stage races. The 2000 Tour of Italy was his the last Grand Tour finish.

Valkenburg: wielrennen-cycling-Amstel Gold Race- Davide Rebellin en Michael Boogerd -foto Cor Vos ©2004
Amstel Gold Race – Davide Rebellin and Michael Boogerd

Rebellin was becoming a Classics specialist. The breakthrough came in 1997, when he was the best in two World Cup races: the Clásica San Sebastián and the Championship of Zurich. That year he also finished fourth in the final ranking of the World Cup. You have to look ahead to 2000 where he takes his first podium finish in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but from then on he regularly in the top 10 or podium. 2004 was his incredible year. On April 18 he won the Amstel Gold Race, on April 21 the Flèche Wallonne and on April 25 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Eight days and three top wins. Michael Boogerd finished second in both Amstel and Liège. “Davide was always my fear giver,” Boogerd said WielerFlits on Wednesday. He described the Italian as: “a very smart, clever rider. Never did one flight of stairs too many, sat still on his bike.”


Boogerd and Rebellin then meet several times in the finals of Amstel and Liège, but neither of them would win those races after that year. Rebellin did win Flèche Wallonne two more times, in 2007 and 2009. The 2009 victory was to be the last really big victory of his career. On April 29, 2009, one week after beating Andy Schleck on the Mur de Huy, the news came out that Rebellin had tested positive for CERA, the new EPO. Checks had been made on samples from the 2008 Olympic Games. Rebellin had finished second behind Samuel Sánchez, but had to hand back his silver medal. He was provisionally suspended and then after the ‘B’ sample was also tested positive in July, Rebellin was told that his suspension would run until April 2011.

2008 Olympic games

Rebellin was 39 years old when his suspension expired and he signed a contract with the Italian Conti team Miche-Guerciotti and returned to racing in early May 2011. That year he didn’t waste much time and won the Tre Valli Varesine and Trofeo Melinda. In the years that followed, Rebellin rode for the Polish CCC team and won the Sibiu Cycling Tour in 2013, Giro dell’Emilia 2014 and the Coppa Agostoni 2015. The racing and finding a team gets harder for Rebellin, but his enthusiasm is still high. As time passes his doping positive becomes less important and he becomes admired as the ‘Old Man’ of the peloton.

As a 50 year-old pro

Rebellin continued racing at a good level until October, 2022. In the Veneto Classic, he said goodbye to his home fans and rode his last ‘race’ in Monaco, the BEKING criterium last weekend. He was 51 years old and had been a professional cyclist for thirty years, two months and fifteen days, retirement was calling, but he wasn’t going to stop as the gravel scene was calling him.

On Wednesday 30 November, 2022 Davide Rebellin was hit by a truck while doing what he loved, riding his bike. 51 is old for a professional cyclist, but far too young to leave this earth.

We all send our condolences to Davide’s family and friends.

Rebellin was to ride gravel in his retirement and had started with the World championships

Thanks to WeilerFlits for the basis of the obituary and ProCyclingStats for the career info.

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