"Gobsmackingly Brilliant" rides of 2000
Marco Pantani waiting for Garzelli.
Jose M Peña
Marco Pantani in the last mountain stage in the Giro and his second victory in the Tour.
Marco Pantani showed a preview of things to come earlier this year
with two different traffic accidents, but who would have guessed that
he would reach such a level of driving ability as he showed in early
November? To hit eight cars within one hour, avoid a breath test and
walk away without any serious punishment or jail time is certainly unprecedented
in the professional peloton. When you consider his level of distraction
and the one-way street, it makes you wonder what he could achieve if
he really put his whole effort into it.
Rebirth on the Izoard (Giro): Marco Pantani.
TDF Stage. 12-Ventoux: Pantani. Christmas came early
I was lucky enough to be in France and watched on TV as Marco Pantani won going up Courchevel. I remember the TV commentator saying that Pantani couldn't catch José Maria Jimenez, who at the time was 4 minutes up on Pantani with only a few kilos to the finish. What the Pirate did in those last kilos was awesome. The commentator went from "he can't" to "he probably can't" to "can he?" to "this can't be!" Pantani passed Jimenez as if he were a second class climber, which he isn't, not to mention what he did to Armstrong, Heras, and company on that day. We know that Pantani was far from being in top shape in 2000, so we can just imagine what he has in store for us in 2001. I am from Montreal, Canada where we get very little cycling news never mind TV coverage, so the images of that day when the Pirate ruled supreme on Courchevel will be with me forever. And yes, I am a Pantani partisan.
Pantani winning at Mont Ventoux , whether or not it was 'gifted' to him. Will you have a section for the most foolish rides of 2000? Cue another Pantani/Armstong duel. Marco was dropped and came back to the Armstrong group. He then tried repeatedly and, at last, successfully to break away - what Lance would have done had this not happened is pure speculation, despite his being the strongest rider in the race. The fact that Pantani was still there at the finish, let alone as the winner, would be enough to qualify for a mention in the 'rides of 2000'.
Pantani, Courchevel, TdF. That look on Jimenez' face
Pantani any time he gets on a bike - Despite his history and problems
he makes races so interesting.