• The stage and overall podium at the Presidential Tour of Turkey.
The career of 43-year-old Davide Rebellin will always feature an asterix next to his name, but the veteran, toiling away in cycling’s second tier for Polish squad CCC Sprandi Polkowice, continues to notch up results much younger riders would envy.
29 Apr 2015 - 9:44 AM  UPDATED 30 Apr 2015 - 11:27 AM

Like many of his generation Rebellin was caught up in doping, and the history books will show he failed a drugs test after winning silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and later served a two-year suspension.

In 2004 the Italian has what was his greatest season, winning all three of the Ardennes classics,  the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège, making him one of his country’s greatest ever classics riders. Even later he continued to notch up very high placings in the European spring.

These days his name can be seen at the top of leaderboards in races like the Cycling Tour of Sibiu, Giro dell'Emilia and today, the Presidential Tour of Turkey.

At the end of the first mountain stage in Turkey, Rebellin prevailed by seven seconds over his fellow escapees from the peloton, Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) and Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne-Séché Environnement).

The stage victory also gave him the overall lead after the previous general classification, led by Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep), was completely upended.

“I'm motivated for every race. I put my heart into it and give the best of myself, especially on a finish like this that suits me, Rebellin said post race.

“I'd say that my condition is better than last year, and I have the advantage that I knew the climb and I know the Tour of Turkey. I came here convinced that I could finish on the podium. Today was the hardest stage, although anything can still happen of course.

“Last year, I remember, I lost 10 seconds in a banal stage finish, because of a split in the group. If I hadn't lost those 10 seconds I could have been on the podium.

“There will not doubt be lots of attacks ahead, but I have faith in my team, and we have riders who are strong enough to take the race in hand and defend this lead.”

Of course, because of the 2008 asterix next to his name, this victory, coming at this stage in his career, defeating so many bright young talents in the race, will be questioned by many. And rightly so.

The Tour of Turkey too has a troubled history, with no less than two past winners disqualified for doping, Rebellin’s stage victory, and pending overall victory, will also be seen in that historical light.

The fourth stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey takes the peloton on a 132km ride from Fethiye to Marmatis.

Stage 3: 163KM, Kemer - Elmali
1 Davide Rebellin (ITA) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 4hr 34min 11sec
2 Kristijan Durasek (CRO) Lampre-Merida 0:00:07
3 Eduardo Sepulveda (ARG) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:00:50
4 Jay Mccarthy (AUS) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:20
5 Serge Pauwels (BEL) MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:23
6 Enrico Barbin (ITA) Bardiani CSF 0:01:29
7 Heiner Parra (COL) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:01:32
8 Daniele Ratto (ITA) UnitedHealthcare 0:01:42
9 Alex Cano (COL) Colombia 0:01:46
10 Adam Hansen (AUS) Lotto-Soudal 0:01:57