The life of the late Marco Pantani, the last man to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same season, is to be the subject of a feature-length documentary called The Accidental Death of a Cyclist to be screened in cinemas in the UK in May next year, reports Variety.
Pantani died of cocaine poisoning in a hotel room in the Adriatic resort of Rimini at the age of 34, the compelling story of the supremely talented but troubled cyclist’s life and the circumstances of his death being the subject a number of books including Matt Rendell’s The Death of Marco Pantani.
It's not clear whether the film's title is a direct reference to Nobel Prize winning playwright Dario Fo's work, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, but if it is, and you're familiar with how that work ends, that may be a clue to the conclusion of the film. Or we could just be reading way too much into that, and the conclusion may simply be that his death was just that, accidental.
According to Rendell’s LinkedIn profile, he has worked on the forthcoming film, which will blend race and news footage with dramatic reconstructions as well as interviews with friends and family.
The film is being made by London-based New Black Films and directed by James Erskine, who previously collaborated with the production company on One Night in Turin, which followed England’s journey to the semi-final of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and cricket documentary, From The Ashes.
rskine will co-produce the film with Victoria Gregory, who has previously produced works such as Senna and Man on a Wire.
"This is not just a film about cycling, but a psychological exploration of what drives athletes to compete; the masochistic pursuit of victory, to the point of self-destruction," said Erskine.
"It will look in detail at the nature of what it means to be a sporting champion and what great victories mean, in the controversial context of the doping allegations that continue to plague the sport.”
The film will also be available on DVD through Channel 4’s 4DVD subsidiary.
The executive producers on the film are Robert Jolliffe of Goldcrest Capital and Dominic Schreiber, rights development manager at 4Rights, who said: "We've been big fans of James and Victoria's work for some time.
"After the success of Senna, it's clear there is a real demand for well-crafted films that combine stunning archive with brilliant storytelling."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.