Daily Dope: Davide Rebellin
Rebellin hearts him some doping.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Davide Rebellin is among the athletes who has tested positive in the re-testing of the Olympic samples. The silver medalist reportedly tested positive for CERA, that magical fruit which sent Riccardo Riccò, Emmanuele Sella, Leonardo Piepoli, Bernhard Kohl, and Stefan Schumacher on vacation last season. Gazzetta does not reveal the source of the information. Presumably it is a member of the Italian Olympic Committee, who is not authorized to speak on the story. I was trying to come up with a catchy acryonym for that, and so totally failed.
This is not Rebellin’s first brush with the doping authorities. In 2001, prosecutors named him in connection with a doping investigation in Padova. According to the investigation, Rebellin received doping products from Dr. Enrico Lazzaro. The evidence allegedly included telephone intercepts and video tape, in addition to evidence seized during the 2001 raid on the Giro at Sanremo. The Italian cycling federation subsequently banned Lazzaro from working with cyclists.
By 2004, the case reached the courts. With a trial date looming, Rebellin won Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but later that Summer, the Azurri excluded Rebellin from the Olympics and Worlds teams. In response, Rebellin applied for Argentinian citizenship. The Argentinian passport did not arrive in time, and Rebellin missed worlds anyway.
In the meantime, Italian legal shenanigans continued. Specifically, the Padova prosecutor sent the evidence over to Pistoia, for reasons of jurisdiction. In Pistoia, they weren’t interested, apparently. For reasons unclear, the district attorney’s office in Pistoia archived the case. And as best as I can uncover, that was that. For the next four seasons, Rebellin continued to ride and win, including the 2009 edition of Flèche Wallonne.
Which brings us back to the present. Rebellin is one of six athletes involved in the emerging scandal from Beijing, including one other cyclist. No word yet on who the second cyclist might be, though reportedly he or she did not receive a medal. For those who wish to play along at home, the officials tested the top five placers in each event plus two randoms. I leave further speculation to the enjoyment of the reader.
Track and field will also get to join the fun. Current reports say that at least one athlete from track and field was male and won “only one” gold medal. Sheesh, they might as well come out and say, no?
The best English language summary is at ESPN and they are updating constantly.