A Biography by Matt Rendell
This book should should be filed under the heading
The way Marco Pantani, danced up the hills is the way I taught my daughter to ride, that spirit, that certain grace, the way he appeared to transcend the limits of what a bike/rider was capable of, the way he didn't even appear to need the bike, he just danced, & whenever old Ma Gravity starting slapping riders down, he grabbed her by the hand and made this old lady the belle of the ball - dancing with her to the summit of every climb.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^It now turns out his dancing was more like a 1990s rave scene with Marco as the chief protagonist gurning and gyrating influenced by a cocktail of chemicals prescribed and otherwise .
I know the word on this generation of riders was out there, I know that my view is misty-eyed and foolishly romantic, but Pantani seemed somehow to transcend the machinations of the sport - he was there to dance, sometimes with a fellow cyclist but predominantly just him, the mountain and that old lady.
Again, I know the evidence was out there - but there's knowing & knowing and this book brooks no quarrel, as it dissects every aspect of Marco's worlds, leaving you with no doubts, nowhere to bury your head ("preserve us from the ostriches"). Despite this I still love how he made me feel watching him ride, just ....... it's now slightly sullied, made muddy by what I know.
This book broke my heart & did so with a knowledge & love that made me think it broke the authors as well. "