Wolfgang Rieke, the German truck driver detained in Vicenza, Italy, for a hit-and-run incident that killed Davide Rebellin, is seeking a reduced sentence of three years, down from the initial 6.5 years, as per his lawyer’s request, according to a report in the Gazetto dello Sport.
The family of the former professional cyclist expressed their strong opposition to the plea deal filed by the truck driver’s lawyer, who is currently in detention at Vicenza prison. The collision occurred on Nov. 30, 2022, in Montebello Vicentino when Rieke struck Rebellin with his truck while he was training and subsequently fled the scene.
Judge Roberto Venditti of the Berico Court postponed the scheduled hearing on Nov. 24, where an immediate verdict for the accused had been ordered. Instead, a new hearing on Dec. 7 will determine the admissibility of the plea request and the appropriateness of the proposed three-year sentence. Initially, the sentence had a base of six and a half years, but it was gradually reduced through discounts offered by the alternative legal process and other factors, such as compensating the victim’s family–a condition imposed by the public prosecutor, Hans Roderich Blattner, for his consent. Rieke also had a previous hit-and-run incident in Italy in 2001.
Rebellin was a three-time Fleche Wallonne winner and took the Liege-Bastogne-Liege title in 2004. He also won Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice. In 1996, he wore the Giro d’Italia’s pink jersey for six days after winning Stage 7 while racing for Polti.