Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin continues to insist that he didn’t dope at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games , where he won a silver medal.
Rebellin, 40 this summer, is coming off a two-year ban after officials say he tested positive for CERA-EPO en route to winning the silver medal behind Samuel Sánchez in China.
“If I was doping, I wouldn’t have gone to the Olympics,” Rebellin said in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa. “I am not stupid. I knew that certain substances can be detected very easily.”
Rebellin, who lost a challenge to his doping ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport last summer, insists there were irregularities during the anti-doping process and suggested there was contamination of his samples or perhaps even the accidental mixing up of labels.
“In Beijing, I underwent three extractions of blood (for anti-doping controls), four days before the race and just ahead of competition,” he said. “In total, there had to be six test tubes, two for every extraction. In the end, they told me there were seven and I only tested positive for one. And the others, they weren’t enough?”
Rebellin’s positive wasn’t announced until April 2009, more than a half year after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.
Rebellin is trying to mount a comeback this season when his doping ban ends April 27 this year. Italian officials insisted that he return his silver medal along with 75,000 euros in prize money.
The medals podium has since been rearranged, with Fabian Cancellara receiving the silver medal and Alexandr Kolobnev bumped up to bronze. The Russian finally received his Olympic medal during a Katusha team ceremony in Moscow at the end of January.