It's 8 years ago today that Marco Pantani was found dead in a Rimini hotel room. The Inner Ring posted this tribute and this fantastic clip of Il Pirate flying at his best:
Matt Rendell’s 2006 book, The Death of Marco Pantani, is a good read if you want to find out more about both the Il Pirate myth and the realities behind it.
If you’re new to the sport then here is a video clip of him in the Giro d’Italia. Watch his team mates churn huge gears, look on as he takes on his rivals one by one with sharp accelerations, note the way he climbs out of the saddle with his hands on the drops, see how smooth his pedal stroke is. Rides like this made him a hero in Italy and beyond, he could change the shape of any race.