This story first appeared on VeloNews.com.
Italian police and prosecutors said Friday they’ve identified a 62-year-old German truck driver as a suspect in the traffic death of Italian ex-pro Davide Rebellin.
The 51-year-old Rebellin was killed Wednesday after he was hit by a truck while returning home on a training ride in the northern Italian region of Montebello Vicentino.
“Our relentless investigations… have allowed Vicenza Carabinieri police to put a face and a name to the driver of the heavy goods vehicle that ran over and killed Davide Rebellin,” police colonel Giuseppe Moscati said in a statement as reported by Reuters.
Vicenza prosecutor’s office said the driver was in a Volvo truck with a German license.
Police said that witnesses spotted the driver approach Rebellin, who medical officials said was killed instantly from the impact, and then drove away. Authorities were able to track him to the region of North Rhine-Westphalia, Reuters reported.
According to police reports, a heavy truck hit and ran over the former pro who had retired from a 30-year career in October. Emergency crews arriving at the scene reported that Rebellin was killed immediately from the impact.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Rebellin’s brother heard of news on the radio and rushed to the scene, only to recognize Rebellin’s smashed and crumpled gravel bike on the roadway.
Police are searching for the driver of a truck involved in the fatal crash, who police say left the scene of the incident.
The Italian news service ANSA reported that video surveillance tapes from a nearby restaurant show a truck believed to be involved in the incident entering the parking lot and leaving again. Authorities believe that the driver of the truck must have seen Rebellin or the mangled bicycle on the ground, and then fled the scene, ANSA reported.
There’s been an outpouring of grief and anger across Italy in the wake of Rebellin’s tragic death.
The incident reminded many of the 2017 death of Michele Scarponi, who was also killed after being struck by a vehicle during a training ride near his home.
Rebellin’s death is angering the cycling community worldwide about rider safety on the open roads. Italian media reports that 106 cyclists have been killed in Italy in incidents involving vehicles in 2022.
Many within the Italian cycling community, some of whom were attending an event Thursday to reveal the course of the 2023 Tirreno-Adriatico, have demanded authorities pass laws to improve rider safety on Italian roads.