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Davide Rebellin to end 30-year career at end of season

Italian super-veteran to call time on career that started in 1992: 'I want it to end it competing, giving the maximum and having some good results.'

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Davide Rebellin will hang up his wheels at the end of this season, 30 years after he made his pro debut.

Rebellin, who turns 51 in August, confirmed this week that this year would be his last.

“In 2022 I want to finish my professional career well. It will be my last year,” Rebellin told Marca this week.

A broken leg late last year torpedoed Rebellin’s initial 2021 retirement plan. The Italian decided last month to tag one extra year onto his career in the hope of going out on a high in 2022.

“I didn’t want to end 2021 with a fracture and a tibia and fibula,” he said. “So I want it to end up competing, with a good program, giving the maximum and having some good results. I don’t know if it’s a top-10 or a top-5. I feel good and from April I’ll be fit.”

Rebellin turned pro in 1992, way before riders like Tadej Pogačar, Remco Evenepoel, Wout van Aert or Mathieu van der Poel were born.

Rebellin came to dominate the hilly classics through the 200os with three wins at La Flèche Wallone, and victories at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Amstel Gold. The Italian’s two-year ban for doping at the 2008 Olympics marked the end of his most prolific years, and he spent much of the past decade riding with second- or third-tier squads.

He is currently at the Mallorca Challenge as he rolls into his second and final season with the UCI Continental team Work Service-Machiol Vega.

Even the fractured tibia and fibia that Rebellin sustained at the Memorial Marco Pantani last year can’t quiet his confidence ahead of season number 30.

“I come to Mallorca to train, compete and enjoy sports on this magnificent island with great weather. I bring my experience to young riders and advise them,” he said.

“In April I can be stronger. I feel good training, I do five or six hours of cycling. I have to work harder right now, although I still have pain in my leg and it doesn’t move as it should. I can’t force it at all, because I have to regain strength and muscle tone.”

With his last victory coming back in 2017 at the Tour of Iran, Rebellin has increasingly turned to a mentoring role with his current team.

The Work Service-Machiol Vega squad is made up entirely of riders younger than 25 – other than the one extreme outlier that is “father” Davide.

“The team is the same as last year. A good youth project. Also junior,” Rebellin said. “I am not only a cyclist, but also the father of these boys to whom I pass on experience, training and nutrition. I am a good example and I show values. The year next they will go up in category and level. With my experience I can help them starting here against great teams. It is important that they compete with the highest category teams.”