Saturday, January 13, 2007

Long Live Il Pirata


Marco Pantani. January 13, 1970 - February 14, 2004.


A pure climber, Giro winner, Tour winner- both in the same year, 1998. Then in 1999, he was kicked out of the Giro for having ahigh hematocrit level. He never seemed to recover from that. He had flashes of brilliance, but never the consistency needed to win another stage race. In 2003, he was treated for depression and in early 2004 he died from cocaine poisoning.


I like to remember him as in this photo- going UP, out of the saddle, bald head shining in the sun! When the road turned upward, he would attack and he attacked the best, Armstrong, Indurain, Ullrich.



When I think about Pantani I always feel a sense of loss, that there could have been much more.

After Pantani's death, Miguel Indurain was quoted as saying:

He got people hooked on the sport. There may be riders who have achieved more than him, but they never succeeded in drawing in the fans like he did.

Palmares

1994
2 stages, Giro d'Italia

1995
2 stages, Tour de France
1 stage, Tour of Switzerland

1997
2 stages, Tour de France

1998
Tour de France
2 stages, Tour de France
Giro d'Italia
KoM, Giro d'Italia
2 stages, Giro d'Italia

1999
4 stages, Giro d'Italia

2000
2 stages, Tour de France

Photo: Graham Watson.

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