pantani_giro_1999_faunera_3_670

Self-Chosen: Il Pirata & Il Giro

Self-Chosen: Il Pirata & Il Giro

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We continue our Six Days of the Giro series with a look at the troubled bond between Marco Pantani and the Giro.

Some were meant to be tormented, as though it were preordained that their brilliance should be balanced with fatal flaws. These are tortured souls, whose dramatic highs are equalled only by the devastating depths of their lows.

Cycling drinks its fill of these personalities, and climbing seems to attract more than its fair share. Shakespeare himself couldn’t divine a better premise; the discipline most focussed on suffering in a sport totally focussed on suffering will always attract the most enigmatic of sorts. Charley Gaul, José María Jiménez, Marco Pantani; the list goes on.

Italy’s geography seems to lend itself to climbing and therefor suffering. There are mountains from north to south, and it being a narrow stip of a country, there is no occasion to avoid them for very long before any parcourse is once again forced to go over them. Already Monday’s Stage 3 of this year’s race is a lumpy thing with two categorized climbs and Stage 4 has an uphill finish. This will be a race for those able to suffer.

Pantani in particular seemed inextricably bound to the Giro. Even before winning in 1998, he found himself winning some of the hardest mountain stages, though his temperament dictated that for every great day on the bike, he would be pay at least V bad ones. In 1999, he looked to be the sure winner before registerring a hematocrit over the UCI 50% limit at Madonna di Campiglio. In 2000, he returned once again, but was far from his best and rode in support of his teammate and eventual winner, Stefano Garzelli.

He struggled on for a few more years, but always tried to shine in Italy. In 2003, in a heart-wrenching display of defiance, he gave the last of himself in vain before disappearing from the sport for good.

It reminds me of a song written by a man who’s life was similarly tormented, Layne Staley. Perhaps Layne and Pantani were two parts of the same whole.

My pain is self-chosen
At least, so the prophet says
– Layne Stayey, River of Deceit

Maybe Layne could have been a Cyclist in another life.

// Nostalgia // Six Days Of // The Hardmen // Tradition

  1. @TBONE think I was 2 Ulles to 1 Ully. Did the black forest gateaux crumbs get on your screen again?

  2. @LA Dave Great work. Thanks.

  3. @LA Dave

    Sorry folks, but the use of the word “retard” or any variation of the word “tard” that is meant to in anyway demean another person is wrong – period. Of course you have a right to use that word even though you are aware of its offensive nature and I fully support that right, but it does not make it ok and it means you are an asshole… but being an asshole isn’t illegal.

    You learn quickly to discern who is simply ignorant about the stigma and those who are truly assholes.

     

    +infinity and beyond. Nicely put Dave.

  4. @ChrisO

    On the Pantani-passion-love them or loathe them subject… yes I can still watch the rides of people in the Armstrong era (for want of a better description) and appreciate them tactically and mentally.

    I don’t think there is any point in expunging their wins and records, but I do think we have to expunge them from our hearts. What does it say to a clean rider in a tour when he sees the names of Pantani, Ullrich, Virenque written on the road by adoring fans, or looks at a magazine or website to see a paean for their passion which ignores their fraud.

    Sure it’s OK to read about them or see articles but I don’t like to see them immortalised. Like the way David Millar frequently says “I’m an ex-doper” , he recognises every discussion needs to start from that point and I feel the same way about those riders.

    I can only look at these guy’s as entertainment not as achievement, and I love to watch but.

    They would not have done what they did without the drugs. They lied, they robbed, they cheated and stole, from all of us, they way the looked whilst doing so? Fuckin Awesome!

  5. Ugh. Finally the tiring discussion is over and the subject of Ulle and Pantani’s awesomeness is back on the menu. One day I’ll inherit a beauty just like this one:

    Except dressed in full Campag Record 10sp. Oh, baby.

    @ChrisO

    In that regard you have to admire the utter ruthlessness and dedication of COTHO.

    Indeed, that’s the one thing I admire about him. During his recent foray into triathlon they interviewed one of the other professionals who remarked that standing next to Lance in transition before a race was a creepy experience. He said it felt as if he was staring through you, if you happened to stand between him and an object of focus. While other pros were walking, discussing, preparing – he simply visualized the transition with an ice-cold stare.

  6. @frank

    @minion

    @scaler911

    As to the other rantings about slang above, well, I’m the least qualified person on the site to discuss that. I can’t tell people’s gender apart anyway……………

    Huh? You? I never, do tell us more….

    It amazes me how willing he is to keep bringing it up…

    He’s on the verge of a breakthrough. I’m just here to provide the support he needs. Much the same as I supported Marcus’ breakthrough to being the biggest wankspanner on the planet, and before anyone lines up to thank me, you’re all welcome.

  7. @tessar

    . One day I’ll inherit a beauty just like this one:

    Inherit ? Are you the love child of Der Kaiser and Sweet Little Klodi ?

    The worst thing about his fall from grace was that it killed off a really very funny parody blog of Der Jan. That was  before kittens took over the internet of course.

  8. @ChrisO

    @tessar

    . One day I’ll inherit a beauty just like this one:

    Inherit ? Are you the love child of Der Kaiser and Sweet Little Klodi ?

    The worst thing about his fall from grace was that it killed off a really very funny parody blog of Der Jan. That was before kittens took over the internet of course.

    You mean like this?

  9. Bah, I suck at the internet.

  10. @ChrisO Son and step-son to two cyclists, and that TCR was always a bit too big on my step-dad anyhow. He bought the team edition frame as soon as it debuted, but chose to dress it in his preferred Grouppo and matching Nucleon wheelset.

  11. @tessar

    When I worked at T-Mobile a few years back, this lady had one of Dede Demet-Barry’s bike in her office. It looked just like that one.

    Not to mention that the bike belonged to Dede. Massive crush time.

  12. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2013.05.07.22.05.07/5/CORVOS_00000651-037_red.jpg': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@frank

    Looking for that shot of Ulli with the brewski I came across this. Ulli shoved Jiménez into the pain cave, took his flashlight from him, and then cracked it in two. The only way he’s getting out of there is crawling on his hands and knees and feeling his way.

    And more Ulli/Marco awesomeness. Great photo.

    This is the fuck’in post of the last five months.  Awesome description and pic for the first photo and just look at Der Kaiser’s face in the second pic:  Jeeezhus, looks like he just went 15 rounds with Ali.

    Good to have you back, Frank!  Hopefully with the book off to press you’ll be able to devote some more time to your internet baby.

  13. @frank No shit!  And Steamy just had a Cogal where she happened to show up!  Oh the pain!!!!

  14. @doubleR

    @frank

    Sorry, the grungehead in me is reborn at some point every year. Layne, at his best.

    M

    Staley sure could belt it out, couldn’t he! My other great love, besides cycling, is music. I play guitar in cover bands with other geezers my age (I’m 56), and I’ve been writing for various music magazines since 1988. Back in the day, I had the privilige of interviewing Jerry Cantrell. Of the hundreds of interviews I’ve done with some of the biggest names in music, that interview sticks with me. Cantrell had no attitude or ego whatsoever. He didn’t consider himself a “rock star,” but just a guy who loves playing guitar. Truly a cool dude.

    I’ve heard that about him as well – very cool. Those guys are real talent, though their music isn’t for everyone. The VMH likens listening to one of their albums to beating your head against the wall for three minutes ten times in a row.

    They lived in Seattle until recently, and I love that Jerry wrote a song called “Check My Brain” for moving to Cali and – ahem – liking it.

    Their new stuff isn’t bad, actually, if you can get over Layne not being there.

    I got a G&L because Jerry played one – still have it today.

  15. @Marcus

    @TBONE think I was 2 Ulles to 1 Ully. Did the black forest gateaux crumbs get on your screen again?

    Great point, I should really disinfect my screen.

  16. @TBONE

    Especially because Ullrich and Klöden referred to eachother as Ulli and Klödi. If its good enough for Ulli, it’s good enough for me.

  17. @Buck Rogers

    Here you go… Newsbiscuit

    http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2011/06/13/dam-busters-dog-renamed-cuntface-for-movie-remake/

    And now if anyone using my laptop is searching for information about, oh I don’t know, the war between Stephen and Matilda then Google will suggest ‘Stephen Fry Cuntface’ to them as a starting point.

  18. One of the very cool things about Ullrich’s Bianchi was the customized hoods; he had his brother (mechanic) take the guts out of 8 speed Ergo bodies, and replace them with 10 speed guts because he liked the feel of the bigger bodies.

    You can always tell if the bike he’s posing with is his or not from that fact.

    His bike.

    Not his bike.

  19. @various grungers. I LOVE Alice In Chains – they were probably my number 1 back in the day with Soundgarden, Nirvana, STP and mudhoney following up in close order.. Never much into Pearl Jam, though they’re great live. A mate and I spent a drunken few hours at the bar in Hyde Park a couple of years ago while Ben Harper covered them in his warm up gig. Bit cheeky we thought. Except he’d already finished and PJ were 45minutes through their set by the time we realised. Damn….

    I even liked the new AIC album – Acid Bubbles is a great tune. Discordant riffery and 2 part vocal harmony. Love it.

    Used to listen to Ty Cobb by Soundgarden on repeat for turbo intervals. That track ellicits a peculiarly Pavlovian response from me now….

  20. Oktoberfest!

  21. Another Italian great!  Monte Casale, 2003.  Grandma brought the chocolates!

  22. @american psycho

    Oktoberfest!

    Those alloy Pinarellos were the complete tits.

  23. @Joe

    @various grungers. I LOVE Alice In Chains – they were probably my number 1 back in the day with Soundgarden, Nirvana, STP and mudhoney following up in close order.. Never much into Pearl Jam, though they’re great live. A mate and I spent a drunken few hours at the bar in Hyde Park a couple of years ago while Ben Harper covered them in his warm up gig. Bit cheeky we thought. Except he’d already finished and PJ were 45minutes through their set by the time we realised. Damn….

    I even liked the new AIC album – Acid Bubbles is a great tune. Discordant riffery and 2 part vocal harmony. Love it.

    Used to listen to Ty Cobb by Soundgarden on repeat for turbo intervals. That track ellicits a peculiarly Pavlovian response from me now….

    Best band out of Seattle were Mother Love Bone, simply awesome.  But the singer died and half of the band went on to form Pearl Jam, after collaborating with Soundgarden to make the Temple of the Dog album – a monster of a record.

  24. A current band with heavy riffs and great vocals:

    http://www.smallstone.com/artistinfo.php?artist=56&s=SkanskaMord

  25. @Nate

    @american psycho

    Oktoberfest!

    Those alloy Pinarellos were the complete tits.

    Perfect example of Belly Breathing!

  26. I loved Pantani, a man with such deep psychological struggles that led to his life journey being as up and down as the mountains he loved to dominate and destroy. The thing I loved most about him was that with the sound off, and the camera focused on him as he climbed or descended it was like watching the best silent movie actor in the world. You could see everything on his face and body, all the emotion, struggle and effort. The relief and jubilation that came from the wins along with the sadness that showed just fractions of a  second later as all his real world problems rushed back to the front of his mind. As tortured as he and many other great riders were in their private life’s it was always clear to see that time spent on the bike was time spent away from those issues and perhaps how they were able to become so great.

  27. @ChrisO

    @Buck Rogers

    Here you go… Newsbiscuit

    http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2011/06/13/dam-busters-dog-renamed-cuntface-for-movie-remake/

    And now if anyone using my laptop is searching for information about, oh I don’t know, the war between Stephen and Matilda then Google will suggest ‘Stephen Fry Cuntface’ to them as a starting point.

    Holy shot, that killed me!  Thanks for the link!

  28. @frank

    @TBONE

    Especially because Ullrich and Klöden referred to eachother as Ulli and Klödi. If its good enough for Ulli, it’s good enough for me.

    [citation needed]

    Fun fact, in ’97 I was in culinary school. July was butchery month – 5 weeks of cutting up sides of beef, whole pigs, lamb, fish, and chicken. My instructor’s first name was Ulrich, we would always call each other Ule. I saw him a few years back, he’s still pretty fit, retired and doing 45 minute ascents of the Grouse Grind.

  29. @frank

    @Nate

    @american psycho

    Oktoberfest!

    Those alloy Pinarellos were the complete tits.

    Perfect example of Belly Breathing!

    It’s like someone photoshopped two Ulli’s together: early season top half (big belly, double – or is that no- chin), late season lower half (lean and mean cannons).

  30. Is it possible to pinpoint the era/series when Shimano cranksets began looking horrible?

    The T-Mobile Giant pictured on the grass sure seems like a start on the road towards the current sets that look to be the RoboCop of the crank world.

  31. @Ron

    Is it possible to pinpoint the era/series when Shimano cranksets began looking horrible?

    The T-Mobile Giant pictured on the grass sure seems like a start on the road towards the current sets that look to be the RoboCop of the crank world.

    Yes, between the 7400 and 7410 crank. 7400: nice, clean lines, 7410, shapey, weird.

    Exhibit A. 7400. Good.

    Exhibit B. 7410. Not good.

  32. @ChrisO

    On the Pantani-passion-love them or loathe them subject… yes I can still watch the rides of people in the Armstrong era (for want of a better description) and appreciate them tactically and mentally.

    I know they were under pressures and went along with the current but, at risk of invoking Godwin’s law, that’s the Nuremberg defence isn’t it. I was only following orders… I was only doing what everyone else did.

    It’s the weak way.

    The strong ones are the people who didn’t. Which probably also explains why Pantani, and one could argue Ullrich, showed themselves to have weak characters in other ways, by making poor decisions about who they surrounded themselves with, by lacking discipline in their training and so on. In that regard you have to admire the utter ruthlessness and dedication of COTHO.

    I don’t think there is any point in expunging their wins and records, but I do think we have to expunge them from our hearts. What does it say to a clean rider in a tour when he sees the names of Pantani, Ullrich, Virenque written on the road by adoring fans, or looks at a magazine or website to see a paean for their passion which ignores their fraud.

    Sure it’s OK to read about them or see articles but I don’t like to see them immortalised. Like the way David Millar frequently says “I’m an ex-doper” , he recognises every discussion needs to start from that point and I feel the same way about those riders.

    As for where you ‘re-start’ caring… I said maybe Sastre and yes the associations are a negative but he just never seemed to fit the doping profile in his riding. He was consistent without being brilliant – a string of top tens, stage wins and podiums in grand tours over ten years but never an explosive rider, not producing anything “unbelievable”. I tend to think if he was doping he would have done something to cause suspicion in his riding. I may be wrong but he gets the benefit of doubt in my book.

    Herbie Sykes wrote an interesting profile of Damiano Cunego in the Feb 2013 (I think) issue of Procycling magazine. To paraphrase, Cunego’s results indicate that he probably dipped his toes in the EPO pool to have a great 2004 season, then stopped doping and has had only occasional wins since. Sykes says that this is probably because he tried the dark side, didn’t like it and came back towards the light, and so he is worth our respect. That could be true. He may also have taken a gamble to dope for a season, in order to guarantee a good salary for the rest fo his career. Cynicism versue Hope?

    Anyway, it would be an interesting exercise to draw up a list of riders who we are reasonably sure weren’t doping, but who were frequently there or thereabouts in the results. That would be a list worthy of respect!

    FWIW I woudl also have Sastre on that list.

  33. 7400 in all its glory aboard a Team 7-11 Stomper.

    I loved how clean it looked, and I immediately took the dust caps off my crankset when I realized none of the pros rode with theirs. That group rivals the beauty of any Campa group, if you ask me.

    @huffalotpuffalot

    Rad photo, matey. If it hasn’t been said already.

  34. @Bianchi Denti

    Anyway, it would be an interesting exercise to draw up a list of riders who we are reasonably sure weren’t doping, but who were frequently there or thereabouts in the results. That would be a list worthy of respect!

    Especially comparing pre/post EPO eras. Looking at known/suspected dopers pre-1991ish and known/suspected dopers in 1991-2013 (yea, we’re note out of it yet, lads) and contrast that to known/suspected clean riders in both eras.

    My feeling is the mix was much more even in the 80’s and before; Hampsten had an interesting bit in Hamilton’s book about racing against dopers who were on steroids or amphetamine. He said you could compete because the drugs made them heavy or dumb, so they balanced themselves out. What the dope giveth, it taketh. With EPO, none of that mattered because they can sustain their anaerobic threshold for 80% longer than a clean rider.

    That’s the difference between a donkey and a racehorse, erased with the prick of a needle.

  35. @Bianchi Denti probably dipped his toes in the doping water in 2004?? He was about 12 years old and won just about everything on the calendar – and the way he won! The little fucker must have been swimming in it!

  36. @frank

    7400 in all its glory aboard a Team 7-11 Stomper.

    I loved how clean it looked, and I immediately took the dust caps off my crankset when I realized none of the pros rode with theirs. That group rivals the beauty of any Campa group, if you ask me.

    re: the dustcap covers.  is this shimano specific?  or do you do it with your campagnolo cranks as well?  im doing a tear-down and rebuild of the adr rep, and didnt bother with any special spanner, just an old spoke bent into a U shape and filed down a bit.

  37. @Frank – Totally agree on on the looks of 7400. Still think Shimano haven’t bettered 7800 when it comes to functionality, despite the improved front shift on 7900. I still have 7800 on my broken No.1 bike and I love that groupset.

    …Stil have no love for SRAM.

  38. Better example of belly breathing.

  39. @pakrat

    So yeah that’s kinda hard to look at, but the fat sonofabitch has my respect for mounting any sort of a bicycle shaped object at all.

    He’s way cooler than the little fat guy in the Lampre kit (who sort of looks like a way fatter version of my grandpa).

  40. Ah, that’s what I was looking for, Frank. I agree as well, like the square-ish shape, don’t like the “shapey” lines. That’s kind of how I feel about my ~2007 Centaur crankset. I don’t mind the rings, but the cranks have the shapey thing going on.

    I really enjoyed the lines of the older Campa crankset that were flattish, square-ish and the rings had the ovalized cutouts. Looks kinda like the 7400 Shimano.

    I feel like that guy after the winter, gut in the way of reaching for the bars. And yes, if you are that big but stil out riding, it’s better in my book than cashing in your chips and giving up.

  41. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2013.05.09.23.38.34/2/Shimano-Dura-Ace-7400-FC-7410-Road-cranks-53-39-T-800x800.jpg': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@frank

    @Ron

    Is it possible to pinpoint the era/series when Shimano cranksets began looking horrible?

    The T-Mobile Giant pictured on the grass sure seems like a start on the road towards the current sets that look to be the RoboCop of the crank world.

    Yes, between the 7400 and 7410 crank. 7400: nice, clean lines, 7410, shapey, weird.

    Exhibit A. 7400. Good.

    Exhibit B. 7410. Not good.

    Do you mean Shimano lost the plot design wise when they started looking like Campy cranks?

    Caveat: I love all the Dura Ace cranks because they say Dura Ace on them. That and they’re fucking amazing, but you know whatever.

  42. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2013.05.09.23.38.34/2/Shimano-Dura-Ace-7400-FC-7410-Road-cranks-53-39-T-800x800.jpg': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@minion

    @frank

    @Ron

    Is it possible to pinpoint the era/series when Shimano cranksets began looking horrible?

    The T-Mobile Giant pictured on the grass sure seems like a start on the road towards the current sets that look to be the RoboCop of the crank world.

    Yes, between the 7400 and 7410 crank. 7400: nice, clean lines, 7410, shapey, weird.

    Exhibit A. 7400. Good.

    Exhibit B. 7410. Not good.

    Do you mean Shimano lost the plot design wise when they started looking like Campy cranks?

    Caveat: I love all the Dura Ace cranks because they say Dura Ace on them. That and they’re fucking amazing, but you know whatever.

    I have a 7400 gathering dust in my garage if anyone’s looking to do a retro build. 80s Mavic crank and rear mech too.

  43. @minion

    That might sting if you had your order right, which you don’t. That DA crank came out way before Campa started fucking with their cranks. But that era of Campa was none better than the Shimano ones. I do like how the current Campa cranks look, despite being carbon.

    The best looking cranks ever – on perhaps one of the coolest bikes ever put together. They weighed like a fucking ton, but that era of component building in the late 80’s/early 90’s was the pinacle of design because they just figured out how to forge smooth surfaces and didn’t care yet about weight. Hence delta brakes and big, beautiful cranks.

    Chuck Mottet’s 1991 RMO/Liberia.

  44. @roger

    @frank

    7400 in all its glory aboard a Team 7-11 Stomper.

    I loved how clean it looked, and I immediately took the dust caps off my crankset when I realized none of the pros rode with theirs. That group rivals the beauty of any Campa group, if you ask me.

    re: the dustcap covers. is this shimano specific? or do you do it with your campagnolo cranks as well? im doing a tear-down and rebuild of the adr rep, and didnt bother with any special spanner, just an old spoke bent into a U shape and filed down a bit.

    I seem to think I took mine off on my Record cranks as well as my Shimano cranks at the same time, but looking at the crank (I still have it) it appears I must not have as the bolts are built into the dust caps.

    @pakrat

    @PeakInTwoYears

    Yeah, at least he’s out. That must take courage when you are shaped like that.

  45. @PeakInTwoYears

    Absolutely.  The photo made me giggle in response to the belly breathing comments earlier, but I have so much respect for anyone who gets themselves out there and puts in the effort.  After I put that up I felt a tad ashamed.  Kudos to him.

  46. @pakrat

    Speaking of respect: your avatar. Nicely done.

  47. Kuwahara

    Shimano Golden Arrow. You can only see the fleur de lys when you zoom in on the crank, but they are on shifters, brakes, chainring, derailleur.

    Now a mates beautiful no 2.

  48. @LA Dave I often refer to my saddle as the “Angry Chair”

    RIP Pirata&Layne

  49. So here we are, ten years down the line.  He cheated and he doped, but I have a perception that he was a vulnerable soul who was exploited for his immense talent.  Whatever anyone thinks of the way he achieved his victories, he rode a bike gloriously and nobody ever deserves to die alone in those circumstances. Thanks for the time he was with us….

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