sometimes you have to stop and smell the chamois butter

Thursday, January 13, 2011

today in cycling history

Today would have been Marco Pantani's 41st birthday.  He was born January 13th, 1970 if you didn't feel like doing the math.  The Italian was nick-named 'Il Pirata', for his shaved head/bandana/earring combo and a take-no-prisoner approach to climbing. He raced his first Tour de France in 1994 and came in third.  Thought to be one of the best climbers ever, he took the Tour de France and the Giro D'Italia in 1998. Pantani was the last person to win both the Tour and the Giro in the same year.  As a note of interest, Pantani had a few run-in's with cars in 1995 and during the Giro in 1997 he fell after a black cat ran in front of him during one of the first stages.  Doping allegations cast a dark shadow over his career and personal life, which many say led to his depression and drug use and his eventual demise. 
So today we remember 'Il Pirata'!  A true champion who was pulled from the peleton too soon.
Viva Pantani!

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