It really hasn't sunk in yet that Marco Pantani is dead. That just doesn't sound right. It sounds surreal and absurd so I can't even say that i'm sad more like really shocked..
It is well known that his life and of course his career in the last 3 years or so had been one long tragic downfall including treatment for depression, court trials and alledged suicide attempts . A fall from graze if there ever was one....But each and everytime he desperately tried to make a comeback he was still supported and cheered on by the tifosi like no other rider in the peloton. He was the most popular and the most charismatic rider in the peloton. Not only because of his totally unique talent but his whole persona which reminded fans of the old legends.
But his career was over......and now his life too. I hope and I'm almost certain that it was suicide. It was at least his own choice..though I have to say that there are certain people that maybe, maybe not, deserve to have our fingers pointing at them......BUT that's a whole other discussion and now is not the time.
Now I'll just sit back and remember all the amazing experiences that he gave to millions of people and especially the diehard tifosi from 1994 to 2000. Always very fragile both physically and mentally but with an unique astonishing grimpeur talent that we in cycling only see every 15 to 20 years. Who knows if he was the last of the grimpeurs?
Nothing and I mean nothing was more exciting than seeing the prime Marco Pantani attack on a mountain. That was unique and that is what he will be remembered for!