The Marco Pantani Story

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I don’t understand a word of any of this aside from the names of the cyclists and the climbs. But I could not take my eyes off it just the same.

Pantani meant a lot to us here at Drunkcyclist. The graphic our very own Snakehawk made at the top right of the page is Pantani.

He died on the other side of the world from Gnome and I as we ground ourselves to pieces in the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo single speed solo division. The date was February 14, 2004. Three men suffered through that night. One had far heavier baggage. Only two of us ever saw daylight again.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

13 Replies to “The Marco Pantani Story”

  1. The man had demons, and a shame to see him go the way he did.. His ability to attack is missed in the Peloton no one does it like he did.

  2. One of my all time favorites. A part of my heart for cycling died when he passed. Very passionate about his career but fell demon to the pressures of the sport.

  3. I saw the man on a visit to my family in Italy in 1998. He was doing a presentation for Mercatone Uno during the Giro that year. The mob of people surrounding him made it impossible for me to get closer and even attempt to take a picture. He has always been my hero and had the opportunity to visit a monument in his name at Casenatico. As a cyclist and one who loves to ride in the local mountains here in Southern California, I always get flashbacks seeing Marco attacking in the mountains. I am in no way even a weak shadow of this man, but he has served as an inspiration and will always remain in my mind as I pedal into the heavens.

  4. Was on vacation in Sweden during the ’98 Tour and bought the Mercatone jersey in a small town bike shop. The owner was an old guy who spoke very little English and struggled to communicate but his eyes lit up when he saw me holding the jersey and exclaimed “Pantani! Fantastico!”
    I had recently gotten sober, quit smoking, and bought a steel, celeste Bianchi that was turning my life around and riding me out of the desperation I had known for years. Pantani was an inspiration on his beautiful Bianchi. I too was very saddened to see the downward spiral that took him to those same dark places I had known.

  5. I didn’t get into road riding until late 04 early 05 just after he died. I worked at shop that showed videos of him. I was in awe. I sat there watching this man get out of the saddle and attack for what seemed like eternity. Sitting down only to recover for a few seconds and then an endless barrage of attacks up switchbacks. Yeah he was probably what we all preach against here, but god damn the man made each and everyday in races exciting. He raced to win not like the current guys who race not to lose.

  6. Pantani is impressive to watch and I bet the dude was a stand-up person and amazing to be around… but I’ve always been confused why he’s (a known doper) been treated like a God around here while Lance has been treated like the cheating douche he most likely is.

  7. I saw on that day the true smallness of the cycling world. My road bike shop world crashed into my friendly mtb one. As a tent scorer that year, I saw the news spreading across the event, groups of people everywhere talking about it. I think the reason he is looked at here the way that he is (along with VDB), is that he didn’t hide his demons, that he and VDB both accepted the demons with the job. LA used stuff that wasn’t illegal, but presented himself as “clean” w/o anything. It is the hypocrits that get trashed. LA did huge things though to get people into cycling and cancer research, so he gets some sort of partial pass from me at least.

  8. I think it mostly comes down to personality. Human beings forgive a lot of trangressions and faults in others if at least that person is human.

    Pantani was human. Armstrong is a fucking robot.

    Pantani was a brilliant climber. Armstrong is a brilliant manipulator.

    Pantani is the kind of guy (along with Ullrich) who you’d like to have sat down and had a beer with. You might talk about cycling or the female species or anything that popped into your head.

    With Armstrong the conversation would be about one thing: Lance Armstrong. And then he’d steal your beer.

    Pantani was flesh and blood. Armstrong is a brand. A product.

    Cap’n Tony, President of the Lance Haters Club.

  9. Word. I didn’t know Pantani was open about what he was doing. I guess now that you mention it, I don’t dislike LA for doping as I wouldn’t be surprised if most or all of the GC contenders he was beating were doping too… I dislike him for being so aggressive about protecting his image. I’m definitely thankful for Lance’s boon to cancer research and the American cycling industry.

    His acceleration on the ups was ridiculous. I don’t like to admit it but I like watching Contador climb for the same reason.

  10. Oops… I was referring to Pantani’s acceleration, not Lance’s.

    I think you’re spot-on, Tony.

    ‘And then he’d steal your beer.’ Fucking hilarious.

  11. …yeah, pantani…he brought ‘molta forza e la grazia’ (much strength & grace) to cycling but in the end, as others have noted, his demons claimed him…we’ll never know what the downward spiral was like for him but it was harder than any mountain descent in the tour or giro because those he was able to master…

    …bravissimo, il pirata…when you grasped life, it was like a celebration…

  12. …during the time of armstrong’s 7 victories, i believe the playing field was level for the top contenders so i have to say 7 tours de france will always remain remarkable to me…his intense focus leading up to & through every july for 7 years was like a 7 year acid trip, no matter how ruthless he may have been on the bike…

    …but as a man, he doesn’t measures up…all the years spent in denial whilst trying to convince people he didn’t shit in the punchbowl has left him unable to man up & make the admission…his latest spin that he doesn’t care what happens & he’s not going to fight it any more is just more blah, blah, blah…it’s simply a tactic…

    …the bottom line ???…he’s not the man he sez he is…

    …despite the good he’s done in raising awareness to the fact that some people can beat the disease (not everyone can) & despite the fact that he’s raised hope for those who can survive, it’s still a hollow victory because it’s based on a false premise…

    …the man up on the podium for everyone to see is not the man everyone thinks he is, he’s a false idol…cancer jesus isn’t who he sez he is…

    …bank on it…