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Rapha are eulogising him as we pass the 10th anniversary of his passing. It's worth taking a look at the Blazin Saddles comment on the Eurosport site - a nicely balanced take on his reputation and legacy.

I wasn't clued up enough to have the suspicions back in Pantani's pomp and therefore just had the admiration for this little dude who climbed like a demon and always seemed like the underdog - he certainly added excitement to my viewing of the TdF

RIP Marco.

14 comments

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levermonkey [682 posts] 3 years ago
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Ok! Lets be grown up about this!

You could pump me full of drugs and give me all the transfusions you like - I aren't going to win the Tdf. In order to do this you need to start with a phenomenal athlete. For all his faults Pantani was a phenomenal athlete.

Pantani raced at a time when nearly the whole peloton was doing things that were wrong and were aided by a corrupt administration that paid scant lip-service to cleaning up the sport. Riders were expendable, there's always a hungry kid coming along. Accept this and move on!

Pantani was one of the greatest riders of his generation and should be remembered as such.

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mtm_01 [201 posts] 3 years ago
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levermonkey wrote:

Pantani was one of the greatest riders of his generation and should be remembered as such.

Regrettably this is how we have to see Pantani, Ulrich, Armstrong...the best tainted riders in the most tainted generation.

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Gkam84 [9111 posts] 3 years ago
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Pantani is a legend, for all his faults, he was a great cyclist and a great guy.

As for Rapha...my other thread spelt that out

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Cyclist [295 posts] 3 years ago
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Armstrong was/is an excellent athlete.

So by being a misunderstood world class athlete it's ok to to take cocaine and a myriad of other recreational drugs then while being an alleged role model? But if you are just some junkie who is on the crack you are the scum of the earth and should go to prison then?

I have a problem with rose tinted glasses. There is no balanced argument, he was a drug user, full stop. Awesome bike rider or not, misunderstood tortured soul my arse, you could say that about every drug taker ever. The man was a mug.

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Cyclist [295 posts] 3 years ago
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levermonkey wrote:

Ok! Lets be grown up about this!

Pantani raced at a time when nearly the whole peloton was doing things that were wrong and were aided by a corrupt administration that paid scant lip-service to cleaning up the sport. Riders were expendable, there's always a hungry kid coming along. Accept this and move on!

Pantani was one of the greatest riders of his generation and should be remembered as such.

So then, I recognise Armstrongs 7 tour victories.. By your reckoning it was a level playing field. So accept this and move on. Best get the live strong kit out then as it seems ok now? Phewwww glad we put that too bed.

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Metjas [362 posts] 3 years ago
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we want a clean sport, but also be allowed/encourage adulation of a doped up cyclist? Now there's a mixed message.

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Gkam84 [9111 posts] 3 years ago
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Yes we want a clean sport, but back when Pantani was racing. There was no such thing as a clean racer, the ones at the back of races just weren't very good at it or weren't very good riders to begin with.

At that time, from what we also know now, the UCI were quite happy to cover things up and there were not proper tests for what was being used.

Saying that, he was an extra ordinary racer and character, loved by millions.

If he was still around, yes, he would now be a disgraced rider. But he's not and we can only remember him for what he was.

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Metjas [362 posts] 3 years ago
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I understand the history, appreciate the complexities, but do not subscribe to the idea there's any value in remembering a fallen hero. I'm just at a loss how I would explain to somebody who has no interest in cycling why it's appropriate to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Pantani.

And the idea that everyone was equal because they were all at it doesn't quite hold - drugs do not have equivalent effects on all individuals (genetic background etc), hence the advent of personalised medicine. And of course some people just choose to let go of their dreams and quit the sport.

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Metjas [362 posts] 3 years ago
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levermonkey wrote:

For all his faults Pantani was a phenomenal athlete.

Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. Arguably all pro cyclists are phenomenal athletes. Impossible to know how much extra-ordinary oomph Pantani got from his drugs compared to his competitors; it all depends how your body reacts.

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Colin Peyresourde [1820 posts] 3 years ago
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I think the situation is terribly nuanced. It is hard to know when and how Pantani started doping. I don't think we have heard a full and frank confession from any cyclist or soigneur for that matter. Yes, we have both Miller and Hamilton's books, but both paint a sympathetic portrait which does not yield the finer details of their doping practises.
We have snippets here and snippets there of blood bags, steroids and EPO injections, but never the hard calculation of how much, when and how often.....the writers do not want to paint themselves as selfish and single-minded characters who deceived us all. And this is the crux, we don't appreciate whether cyclists are as ruthless as that, or whether the process is a bit more subjective. I suspect that in a competitive environment the benefits become apparent and then it is very hard to hold back.
The point with Pantani is that he appears to have entered into a regime set up by Conconi and others which gave him access to top end doping very early on. The suggestion in the film was that he was institutionalised into doping early on in his career. But does that mean he was due success anyway, or simply that he took the offer of an unfair advantage?
Overall I have to admit that I believe Armstrong and Pantani were talented athletes, but I sort of wonder how good I would have been had I had access to a) coaching, b) a decent bike and possibly c) drugs? The point being that there is always the element of fortune favouring people because they happen to be in the right place at the right time - some might say Armstrong and Pantani were in the wrong place/time given what it has meant for them.
The question about how to view these people in prosperity is rather a philosophical question. There are those that diminish the role of drugs, but the question remains then what does it say about us if we venerate a cheat? Should we not lambast them all? I feel that the answer is an uneasy one which says a lot about man's weakness.

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giobox [361 posts] 3 years ago
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Metjas wrote:

I understand the history, appreciate the complexities, but do not subscribe to the idea there's any value in remembering a fallen hero. I'm just at a loss how I would explain to somebody who has no interest in cycling why it's appropriate to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Pantani.

And the idea that everyone was equal because they were all at it doesn't quite hold - drugs do not have equivalent effects on all individuals (genetic background etc), hence the advent of personalised medicine. And of course some people just choose to let go of their dreams and quit the sport.

Its pretty easy to explain I think. People love, and can relate to, a tragic hero. It's precisely because Pantani was flawed that makes him loved by so many.

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trevisotart [18 posts] 3 years ago
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Pantani was no angel that's not under argument , but the guy always attacked the climbs and was stunning to watch , unlike some of the more robot like climbers we have today - and he still seems to generate column inches even now ten years after he died .

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Rupert [191 posts] 3 years ago
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It is nothing short of a tragedy
He should never of been allowed to destroy himself.

People should of been there for him.

If there can be any lesson learnt from this, it is look out for the people around you make sure you are there for them even if they are taking the wrong path.

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Scoob_84 [435 posts] 3 years ago
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Pantani is just another contradiction added to the long list that exists in the world of cycling