Rebellin's Argentine switch not confirmed

Davide Rebellin is all set physically to ride Sunday's world road race in Argentine colours, but off

Davide Rebellin is all set physically to ride Sunday's world road race in Argentine colours, but off
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Despite having trailed halfway around the world last week for a training ride and some form-filling that seemed to seal his switch of nationality from Italian to Argentinian, Davide Rebellin is still not certain of his place in the world road race on Sunday. Rebellin and his new Argentine team presented Worlds' race officials with a certificate to show his new nationality, but this has proved insufficient in terms of the registration documents required, and a decision on Rebellin's participation is now awaited from a higher legal authority. If a decision was not reached by midday today (Friday), Rebellin's place in Sunday's race would go to Alejandro Borrajo, who is still hoping to be the sole representative of the country in which he was born. If Rebellin were to miss Sunday's race it would relieve some of the pressure on Italian national selector Franco Ballerini, who has been getting some rough treatment in the Italian press because of Rebellin's decision to 'emigrate'. Ballerini, of course, did not select Rebellin for last year's world championships nor for the Olympics as he had previously told the World Cup leader he would, provoking Rebellin's decision to become Argentinian in order to assure himself a place at this year's Worlds. Although Ballerini's Olympic selections did come home with the gold medal, a number of major Italian names have still been critical of their national selector. "If Rebellin wins on Sunday, Ballerini might as well throw himself in the Adige river," said 1977 world champion Francesco Moser. 1973 world champion Felice Gimondi asked, "How can you not pick a guy who's on form? In the world championships, it's vital to have as many riders as possible who can win the race." Ballerini, though, believes that the whole issue has blown up out of nothing, and that he has nothing to blame himself for. "I can understand Rebellin's desire to ride the Worlds, but I was going to include him in the team anyway," said the Italian national selector. Ballerini added: "He would have been one of the three team leaders on the day, but instead he panicked and went off to get an Argentine passport. Obviously it's a choice I don't agree with."
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