Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist Review

• May 26, 2014

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By Joe Langham | @J0eLang92

This year marks 10 years since one of the most talented cyclists of recent times, Marco Pantani, tragically passed away. However, he managed to complete some amazing achievements in his short life that have ensured his name is carved into sporting history books for many years to come.

Many cycling fans will have noticed this year’s Giro d’Italia is a little different, what with an especially gruelling climb that has been specially selected for the route this year as well as some symbolic summit finishes. Those who know of Pantani will know that these types of climbs were his forte and so will understand the significance of these locations, which are: Monte Carpegna, Oropa and Montecampione. Monte Carpegna was one of Pantani’s favourite training climb with the latter marking the locations of his two most famous victories.

In 1998 Marco Pantani, the most flamboyant and popular cyclist of his era, won both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. This Herculean feat of physical and mental endurance has never since been repeated. During a time when doping scandals threatened to destroy a sport adored by many, Pantani offered hope to millions and was seen as a saviour. However, this heroism was short lived as merely six years later; the young Pantani was found dead in a cheap Italian hotel, apparently from acute cocaine poisoning, at the young age of 34.

Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist is a unique and compelling story of one man taking on the mountains, an athlete’s battle against addiction, set against the dramatic and beautiful background of the Alps during the Tour de France.

Pantani’s life is retold both personally and professionally predominantly through his mother and Sir Bradley Wiggins. Other contributors include fellow cyclists and competitors such as Greg LeMond and Piotr Ugrumov. The stories told by these people will put you on an emotional rollercoaster, with tales to make you laugh, cry, be amazed and shocked and everything in-between.

These recollections of his life are illustrated with some beautiful scenery which offers a romanticised vision of what life on the road must be like for the athletes during long distance races such as the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. Some of the landscape shots are utterly stunning, leaving you fighting back the urge to get on your bike and visit some of the locations in which the film was shot.

Pantanti offers a great insight into the life of a legend, from his childhood up until his last months on earth and will intrigue not just cycling fans and enthusiasts but those not interested in the sport too.

Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist is directed by Emmy-nominated film-maker James Erskine, whose work includes One Night in Turin (2010), From the Ashes (2011) as well as numerous episodes of hit TV dramas including Torchwood, Robin Hood and Waterloo Road. 

PANTANI: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist is out now, released in the UK by Soda Pictures. A New Black Films production in association with 4 Rights and Media Squared Films.

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