Panaria boss slams 'soap opera'
Thursday, September 16, 2004 11.00pm
Davide Rebellin and Alejandro Alberto Borrajo both think that they will represent Argentina at the w
The sinuous saga of Davide Rebellin's decampment to Argentina just runs and runs. Twenty-four hours after the Italian-born rider's Gerolsteiner team announced that Rebellin has been cleared to represent Argentina at the world championships in Verona, the UCI have confirmed that the South American nation is entitled to enter just one rider for the road race on October 3. Had Rebellin's UCI points been taken into account on the cut-off date of August 15, eight Argentine riders would have been eligible for Verona. "Argentina's UCI points total on August 15 dictated that they should have one competitor and one reserve at in the world championship road race," UCI press chief Enrico Carpani confirmed on Friday morning. Rebellin, the current world number four, has been given assurances to the effect that he will start in Verona; Alejandro Alberto Borrajo, world number 434, and until several hours ago Argentina's No1 cyclist, believes that he will, too. But clearly two doesn't go into one. Borrajo claims that Argentine Cycling Federation president Gabriel Ovidio Curuchet promised him on Thursday that both would ride in Verona. A mistaken reading of the UCI rule book, or was Curuchet being disingenuous? Borrajo's trade team, Panaria-Margres, shares its 24-year-old sprinter's confusion. Informed of the UCI's ruling this morning, team boss Bruno Reverberi's reaction was feisty and provocative. "The UCI's cut-off date for points was August 15. Rebellin wasn't Argentinian on August 15, so he shouldn't now be entitled to take their only place," Reverberi told procycling. "If that is what happens, then Alberto might as well apply for Italian citizenship. I don't understand: the Argentinian Federation president told Alberto yesterday that both he and Rebellin would ride. It's still ambiguous, [Curuchet] needs to be honest." "Frankly," Reverberi concluded, "this is a soap opera in which I am losing interest." If it isn't world ranking points which ultimately act as judge in jury in selecting Rebellin over Borrajo, then Argentinian selector Mirko Rossato should ensure the same outcome. Rossato, like Rebellin, was born in the Veneto region. He was also the first to suggest that Rebellin turned to Argentina after his Olympic snub by Italy. It therefore seems almost unthinkable that the Italian will pick Borrajo over Rebellin. Born in Italy and a resident of Monte Carlo, Rebellin has no blood-ties with Argentina. "In Argentina there is a special clause for artists, sportspeople and scientists to accelerate their naturalisation and to give them automatic residency if it is judged that they can make an important contribution to the nation. That is case for Rebellin," Curuchet explained recently.
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