Delusions of Grimpeur 10 - RIP Grimpeur - Road Cycling UK

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Delusions of Grimpeur 10 – RIP Grimpeur

Final Calls for the Rapha/High5 Competition run in Delusions of Grimpeur 8. All of the entries are in, winners chosen (see thread). I’ve heard from the two runners-up but have heard nothing from Jam, the winner. Private messages are not possible to his account. Jam, please contact me ASAP with your details!

A slightly subdued post today; not just because my lecturers are beginning to apply the pressure academically.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Which would appear to divide the general population into 3 groups. Those who are blissfully and romantically in dalliance with another (cue chocolates, flowers, soppiness, outrageous public gestures of affection), those who are not currently enjoying amorous liaisons (and are either bitter, lonely and/or hopeful to this situation changing) and those who are plain indifferent.

I generally fall into the final of these categories, but have recently found myself being seduced more and more into the first group as a result of blossoming love between self and lovely lady. (funny story- we met on the RCUK forums when I mockingly threatened to sue her for breach of copyright in the Trek Project One design competition). So, yes, to curtail any further soppiness: Alice, I love you, and hope you’re having a lovely Valentine’s Day.

Yet this is an international cycling website, a monument in the world of cycling media, a hulking monstrosity of unimaginable influence and power. Love, and other such lightweight concepts, bear no relevance to our daily melange of rhetoric, debate and scathing commentary. Except when used in the phrase ‘I LOVE (insert bling cycling-related item)’.

So why am I focussing so determinedly on this day? If you don’t know, shame on you.

Today is the 7th anniversary of the death of Marco Pantani – a rider inimitable in his panache, character and style. In 1998 he completed the rare double of winning both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in the same year, and has numerous stage wins in both races, in addition to white and climber’s jerseys.

A troubled rider whose career was marred by failed drugs tests, he took his own life on Valentine’s Day 2004 in a hotel room in Rimini- the scene of his last major race win some years previously.

With a swashbuckling and attacking style of riding, he became a great many people’s favourite racer. Stories abound of his charisma (throwing his trademark bandana down at the side of the ride in disgust as he mounted an attack).

I won’t go into huge detail regarding the man, the myth, the drug-taking, but will recommend that if you’re interested in learning more, Matt Rendell’s “The Death of Marco Pantani” is a fantastically-researched, sobering and grounding read. It is, however, not an easygoing ‘laugh-a-minute’ odyssey, rather a detailed expose of a troubled and ultimately very unhappy man. It shocked me.

Rather than dredge once more into the drug issues inherent within pro cycling again, I’d like to try to keep things fairly light. Regardless of drug-taking, Marco Pantani remains one of the most gifted, brilliant and enjoyable bike racers to watch of all time.

I’ve managed to track down this video on Youtube- which features clips from one of his finest victories. The soundtrack ‘Rimini’ was a tribute to him written by French rock band ‘Les Wampas’. Have a listen, have a think. Raise a glass in quiet appreciation to il pirata, Marco Pantani.

Lyrics (I’m happy to post an English translation on the forum if required):

Le soir quand l’Italie est triste
Elle ressemble à Rimini
Non mais vraiment
Qu’est ce qu’il t’a pris
D’aller mourir à Rimini

Barbe Noire t‘attendait là-haut
Les pirates étaient fiers de toi
Non mais vraiment
Qu’est ce qu’il t’a pris
D’aller mourir à Rimini

Tu allais plus haut,
Plus vite que les autres
J’espère que tu n’as pas raté
Le Paradis

Oui à côté de Rimini
Même Palavas a l’air sexy
Car à côté de Rimini
La Grande Motte ressemble à Venise

Ouhouhouh x 3

Tu allais plus haut,
Plus vite que les autres
Oui pour toi Rimini c’est bien fini
Tu allais plus haut,
Plus vite que les autres
J’espère que tu n’as pas raté
Le Paradis

Un jour avec tous les pirates
Tu reviendras crier vengeance
Le bandana sous les étoiles
Pour réduire Rimini en cendre

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