Davide Rebellin, 51, champion of several classics and runner-up in the 2004 World Cup, died yesterday after being hit by a truck while riding his bicycle on a road around the municipality of Montebello Vicentino in northeastern Italy. After the incident, the truck driver fled.
Rebellin, one of the greatest figures in the history of Italian cycling, had one of the longest and most complete careers in the world. He retired in 2022, at the age of 51 and playing the 2022 Veneto Classic, with 30 years as a professional behind him.
He became a professional in 1992, after participating in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, where he established himself as an explosive cyclist, cementing most of his successes in one-day races and becoming one of the best of his generation. In his palmares are a classic of San Sebastián 1997, the Tierreno-Adriatico of 2001, 3 Flechas de Wallona and a Paris-Nice. He was the first cyclist in history to achieve, in 2004, the Ardennes triptych —Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège— in the same season. He also had good results in the Giro d'Italia, where he placed sixth in 1996 as well as a silver medal in the 2004 world championships.
In 2008 he was involved in a doping case. Six months after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he tested positive for CERA, a substance that stimulates the creation of erythropoietin and is considered illegal. Because of the case, he had to return the silver medal he had obtained and the 75,000 euros of the prize, although 7 years later he was acquitted by the Pádova court.
The cycling community has praised his career and mourned his death on the road. Outstanding cyclists such as Vincenzo Niballi or Alejandro Valverde have spoken in networks lamenting his death and putting on the table -once again- the problem of the safety of cyclists on the road