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  #1  
Old 08-04-09, 14:31
Clemson Cycling Clemson Cycling is offline
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Default Marco Pantani?

This guy was around a couple years before I began watching cycling. I was just wondering why there is still such a strong following with him? I have done some research on him and he seemed to be a big doper and really the poster boy of the era that cycling wanted to end. I never saw him race so I don't really understand why he is so likable.
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Old 08-04-09, 14:41
thehog thehog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemson Cycling View Post
This guy was around a couple years before I began watching cycling. I was just wondering why there is still such a strong following with him? I have done some research on him and he seemed to be a big doper and really the poster boy of the era that cycling wanted to end. I never saw him race so I don't really understand why he is so likable.
I went to his home town recently in Cesenatico. It’s a sleepy beach town and a little naff. Think Blackpool in Italy but with much much better food (and women).

In each and every cafe, bar and restaurant was a photo of the man himself. Next to a picture of Jesus.

I was told the day he attacked Ullrich in the 98 Tour everyone ran from their shops, bars and homes to the beach where they had large screens erected. They crowd were shouting "Pantani, attacco, attacco!" in football like chants.

He is held up like a God. A good description of him is “quixotic”. The Times in London gave him this title and best describes the man.

Italians like mixed up people. Otherwise they wouldn't have voted for Berlusconi. As much as they want to take Berlusconi down they also admire him for using every single dodgy method to stay in power. It's the Italian way.

Last edited by thehog; 08-04-09 at 14:45.
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Old 08-04-09, 14:41
anubisza anubisza is offline
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He was a shy, unusual racer, unusual in the way he could go up hills, as well as being physically unusual.
He was certainly amazing to watch race, but he obviously had issues at various points of his career. His early death cemented him as a legend.
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Old 08-04-09, 14:43
anubisza anubisza is offline
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I was told the day he attacked Ullrich in the 88 Tour ..
I'm guessing a typo on the 88 1998.
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Old 08-04-09, 14:44
thehog thehog is offline
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I'm guessing a typo on the 88 1998.
No typo. I'm just 10 years ahead of my own time. 1998 for everyone and 1988 for me.
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Old 08-04-09, 15:06
Eva Maria Eva Maria is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemson Cycling View Post
This guy was around a couple years before I began watching cycling. I was just wondering why there is still such a strong following with him? I have done some research on him and he seemed to be a big doper and really the poster boy of the era that cycling wanted to end. I never saw him race so I don't really understand why he is so likable.
Many ask the same question about Armstrong.

Pantani never tested positive.
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Old 08-04-09, 15:11
Dr. Maserati Dr. Maserati is offline
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The Italians are very passionate about all sports and cycling is still hugely popular in Italy.

I have watched many races throughout Europe but I was struck by the passion and knowledge of the Italian fans or casual roadside spectator has.
In Italy they even have a name for those passionate fans called the tifosi.

After the second World war Italy was in the depths of a depression but two of their cyclists - Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali - were flying the Italian flag at all the major races throughout Europe.
Cycling was looked at as more than a sport - Coppi & Bartalis achievements were used as a symbol to restore pride back in to Italy

Of course in typical Italian fashion many supporters sided with one rider over the other - causing huge debate among the tifosi.

Pantani was admired because of his attacking climbing style and his panache on the bike. His shy personality and large ears endeared him to the public.

He was a popular winner of the Giro in 1998 but he was elevated to superstar status when he became the first Italian to win the Tour later that same year.

If you are interested in the history of cycling than a browse of either Coppi or Bartali's career would be a great place to start.

Last edited by Dr. Maserati; 08-04-09 at 15:13.
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Old 08-04-09, 15:28
mistahsinclair mistahsinclair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemson Cycling View Post
This guy was around a couple years before I began watching cycling. I was just wondering why there is still such a strong following with him? I have done some research on him and he seemed to be a big doper and really the poster boy of the era that cycling wanted to end. I never saw him race so I don't really understand why he is so likable.
He was a quirky looking little guy (his looks were one of the big factors which made him appealing) who had the ability to make things happen. He added excitement to the racing whenever the roads started to point upward.

In the TdFs before he won there wasn't a great deal of excitement, at least not since Lemond beat Fignon in the final stage time trial into Paris. Indurain, Riis and Ullrich were all a bit boring to watch. They won, and did so pretty convincingly, but it wasn't exciting...little flair.

That's what Pantani brought.
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Old 08-04-09, 15:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anubisza View Post
He was a shy, unusual racer, unusual in the way he could go up hills, as well as being physically unusual.
He was certainly amazing to watch race, but he obviously had issues at various points of his career. His early death cemented him as a legend.
Isn't it possible the doping actually killed him?
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Old 08-04-09, 15:29
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VeloFidelis VeloFidelis is offline
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Quote:
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Pantani never tested positive.
That's a very interesting interpretation, of the facts. Are you really comfortable with your double standard?
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