One more uncertainty in an already uncertain Tour of Italy is what Davide Rebellin will do: the 31-year-old "good boy" from Veneto comes to the Giro after an unexpectedly poor start of the season. The man was accustomed to early wins and outstanding performances in the Spring Classics, but this year's results were completely different: No victory, no particular showdown, not even in the race he set as one of his 2002 main targets, Liège-Bastogne-Liège: "I had planned to start the season slowly, in order to grow and be more competitive later, in Fleche Wallonne and LBL, and also be able to have my say in the Giro's first part. But I'm afraid I started even too slowly: I had only 27 days of racing, 10 less than in 2001".
Actually a lot of troubles and misfortune marred his early season right from the debut, as things kept going wrong in his first outing, France's Tour of the Mediterranean : "I caught an intestinal virus and had to take antibiotics which weakened me" the former number 1 in the UCI-ranking said "Later I recovered and got to Tirreno-Adriatico in quite a good condition instead, but I crashed in Stage one and the outcome of the consequent contracture even led to a tendinitis, which affected my build-up again".
Rebellin's misadventures continued well into April: "In the Tour of the Basque Country I felt quite good, but suffered from the bad weather, and all I got was a second place in the opening leg. Then I moved to Belgium, but things didn't change: Bettini's attack anticipated me in LBL, and even if I tried to chase him down, together with Boggerd, the escapees had taken too a high advantage on us, and my efforts proved usueless".
That's the past anyway. Time to look ahead now, to think about the future, a future which goes under a particular name: Giro d'Italia, a race he comes to while in a different situation than in previous years: in the past he got to the startline after a successful but demanding Spring campaign that satisfied his ambitions, but where he spent many energies, such that Davide's condition was about to enter its fading phase at the middle of May. This year's poor season start prevented him from winning, but also from spending too much, and his lack of result could be a further motivation for the Gerolsteiner's rider to use the Giro for taking the satisfactions he missed before.
The route looks appropriate. Starting from the second leg, whose final part is the same as in LBL, so he could take immediate revenge on Bettini. And Rebellin himself sounds like sharing this theory "It's time for me to win something. As I raced, and spent, less than last year, I will be at the Giro startline in quite a better condition, and really want to get good results. My main targets are stage victories, as there are some legs whose parcours suits me well."
As for the GC "I did not set my mind on that target in particular, but I'll wait and see what happens, day by day. The route is less difficult than in past editions, although the big mountains still are a big obstacle to my ambitions. Should I grab the pink jersey in the first ten days of racing, I'd try to keep it until the end anyway. I'll have many loyal and accomplished teammates around, from Faresin to Rastelli who followed me to Gerolsteiner, to Austrian Georg Totsching, whom I know well as he was a teammate of mine in at Polti 1996. He is Gerolsteiner's appointed man for the GC, but the agreement is that responsibilities are equally divided between us, and the road will decide; as long as the race goes on, the best-placed of us will have the whole team at his disposal".