Davide Rebellin lines up for the 2021 GP Industria & Artigianato.

The end of an era: Davide Rebellin will retire at the end of 2022

The 50-year-old Italian has confirmed that 2022 will be the last season of a career that spans three decades.

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It is truly the end of an era. Davide Rebellin, who will turn 51 this summer, has announced that he will call time on his 30-year career at the end of this season.

“2022 is my last year,” Rebellin told MARCA.

Rebellin is currently in Mallorca with his Work Service Vitalcare Vega teammates who are racing the European season-opener, the Mallorca Challenge.

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

Rebellin in action at the 1997 Tour de France.

The peloton’s elder statesman is still working his way back to fitness after crashing hard near the end of last season, which was due to be his last. But Rebellin added a second year to his tenure with the Italian Continental team, wanting to go out on his own terms.

“In 2022 I want to finish my professional career well,” Rebellin said. “It will be my last year, I didn’t want to end 2021 with a fracture of the tibia and fibula. So I want it to end competing, with a good program, giving the maximum and getting some good results. I don’t know if that’s a top-10 or a top-5. I feel good and from April I’ll be fit.

“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.”

Rebellin turned pro in 1992 with Italian team GB-MG Maglificio, years before the likes of Tadej Pogačar, Remco Evenepoel, or any one of his teammates were even born, and a decade before Alejandro Valverde – who will also retire this year – joined the pro ranks. 

Throughout his 30-year career – interrupted by a two-year doping ban – Rebellin has raced at all levels of the sport, and he’s picked up 61 victories along the way, most notably Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Amstel Gold in 2004, GC wins at Tirreno-Adriatico (2001) and Paris-Nice (2008), and a trio of La Flèche Wallonne titles in 2004, 2007 and 2009, most while riding for Gerolsteiner.

Rebellin wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2004.

The last time he mounted the top step of the podium was at the Tour of Iran (Azerbaijan) in 2017, a year after signing off on his time in the top echelons of the sport with ProConti team CCC Sprandi Polkowice, whose orange jersey he’d worn for four seasons.

In the twilight years of his storied career, Rebellin has leant his support, knowledge and unparalleled experience to his young teammates on a series of Continental outfits.

At the all-Italian Work Service Vitalcare Vega where he’ll enjoy his last dance, the next oldest rider is half Rebellin’s age at 25, and more than half of his teammates qualify as U23. 

“The team is the same as last year. A good youth project. Also junior,” Rebellin explained. “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. Next year they will go up in category and level. With my experience I can help them do this, starting here [Challenge Mallorca] against great teams. It is important that they measure themselves against the highest category teams.”

Rebellin leads his Work Service Marchiol Vega teammates during the 2021 Trofeo Laigueglia.

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