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Following some suggestions that the CCC Sprandi Polkowice team’s invite to the Giro d’Italia was contingent on two controversial riders – Davide Rebellin and Stefan Schumacher – being absent from the squad, the former has hinted that he is unlikely to do the event.
Asked about his goals for the season, the 43 year old Italian said that he was focussing on shorter events. “I hope to be in the Classics that best suit my characteristics and to be able to show myself,” he told Bicicilismo. “In San Remo, Amstel, Lombardy … Now I will dispute Besseges, Murcia, Almería and Tour Haut Var.”
Asked about being part of the Giro, he accepts he might not be.
“For the team it’s good news, for its image I think that every year is a stronger team. I don’t think I will dispute it as I will be more focused on the Classics. Right now I cannot be sure. I will speak to the team.”
If the rumours that Rebellin and Schumacher are not welcome are correct, it is due to their pasts. Schumacher tested positive for CERA in the 2008 Tour de France, while Rebellin was positive for the same substance in the Beijing Olympic Games that same year.
Both returned after their suspensions and have been successful, although not at the same level as before. Given that he will turn 44 in August, Rebellin knows that his career is including towards a conclusion. He said that he is not sure whether or not he will continue beyond the end of 2015, and will make the decision based on how the year goes.
All working out as he wants it, he believes he will have a good year.
“I still have strength, desire and motivation,” he insisted. “Not just physical condition, the head is very important. I hope to have a good year. I trained in Monte Carlo, in Calpe with the team and since last week in Mallorca.”
He is a past winner of all of the Ardennes Classics, taking Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2004, the Amstel Gold Race that same year and Flèche Wallonne in 2004, 2007 and 2009.