Rebellin in action at the 1997 Tour de France.

50-year-old Davide Rebellin will race on in 2022

Even a double leg fracture couldn't stop the indefatigable Italian.

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By the time they reach 50, most professional riders have been retired for more than a decade. Not Davide Rebellin though. The evergreen Italian turned 50 back in August, but this week news broke that he’ll race on for yet another season.

In 2022 Rebellin will continue with Italian Continental team Work Service Vitalcare Vega, known this season as Work Service Marchiol Vega. It will be Rebellin’s 30th season in the professional peloton.

The fact Rebellin is continuing on isn’t just extraordinary because of his age – he’s also recovering from a serious leg injury. At the Memorial Marco Pantani one-day race in mid September, Rebellin crashed heavily and fractured both his tibia and fibula, ending his season.

By mid November he was still on crutches. From the the outside, it looked as if Rebellin’s career was finally – finally – over. Not so.

“I actually wanted to hang up my bike this year, but I can’t end [it] with a fracture,” he told Tuttobiciweb in November. “I don’t want to end up with a breakup. I want to stop in the race, as a rider in the peloton. The idea is therefore to contest some races with the team in March, April and May.”

Rebellin has also signalled an interest in racing gravel next year. “It is an ever-expanding world and it shapes the future of cycling,” he said. “I would like to combine road and gravel races in 2022.”

Apart from his incredible longevity, Rebellin is best known for wins at Liège-Bastogne-Liège (2004), Paris-Nice (2008), Tirreno-Adriatico (2001), Amstel Gold Race (2004) and three editions of La Flèche Wallonne (2004, 2007 and 2009). He is also known for serving a two-year doping ban after testing positive for CERA at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 (after finishing second in the road race).

Rebellin began his pro career way back in 1992, not long after finishing 20th in the Barcelona Olympics road race. For context, that’s a decade before Alejandro Valverde began his pro career, and six years before reigning Tour de France champ Tadej Pogačar was even born.

Rebellin spent many years racing at the highest level of the sport and has amassed a total of 61 pro victories. Since 2017 he’s ridden for a string of European Continental-level teams and has remained impressively competitive in that time. In 2021, he finished top 10 in three stages of UCI 2.1 stage races, and seventh overall at the UCI 2.1 event Turul Romaniei.

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