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The defiant spirit that is Pantani. Mercatone drops him.(10 posts)

The defiant spirit that is Pantani. Mercatone drops him.Sintesi
May 30, 2002 11:52 AM
Pantani's Wants to Give Something Back to Cycling
Pantani to build new team

From: AFP - Thursday, May 30, 2002

FOLGARIA, Italy - Italian cyclist Marco Pantani on Thursday said he wants to establish a new team, the day after he pulled out of the Giro d'Italia after struggling in the first mountains stage.

The former Giro winner (1998), who won the Tour de France the same year, blamed a lack of mental fitness for his latest abandon from a major stage race. "I can't understand what has happened during the Giro," said Pantani who started Wednesday's stage race in 76th position over an hour off the leaders' pace. "I've trained much harder for this race than I had for other Giros and tests showed that physically I was in good condition. Maybe I should have been submitted to mental tests as well. For this job you have to be mentally prepared and that's maybe something I wasn't in this situation," added Pantani.

Pantani is a pale shadow of the rider who was on top form in 1998, and who was known to everyone as Il Pirate (the Pirate) thanks to his penchant for earrings, goaty beards and colourful bandanas. And as his team Mercatone Uno has not been invited to this year's Tour de France, the 32-year-old rider says his only option is to build his own outfit with a new sponsor. "My team hasn't been invited to the Tour de France because I'm no longer a competitive rider. It's because of my absences in the big stage races that Mercatone Uno are pulling out (of sponsorship). I'm going to work to rebuild a new team with a new sponsor. My fans still believe in me. Cycling has always been generous to me, so I have to give something back."

Pantani's last significant victory goes all the way back to his win at Courchevel in the 2000 Tour de France.
The rumor is he already has a major sponsor...Softrider
May 30, 2002 12:27 PM
The rumor is that Ortho Biotech Product is spending a large sum of money to create the Procrit® racing team.

Pantani was the overwhelming choice for team leader.
Is it Wonder Bread? (nm)pmf1
May 30, 2002 12:29 PM
Team motto:amflyer
May 30, 2002 12:33 PM
"At Biotech, our riders perform at a "Higher Level" than the rest!
re: The defiant spirit that is Pantani. Mercatone drops him.ClydeTri
May 30, 2002 12:54 PM
I seriously think Marco may have the reason. At that level you have to have both the physical and mental parts operating at the very highest level. I have read Lance say he couldn't imagine doing what he does for more than five years, not five more, but five. To compete at that level in a such a physical sport requires a large mental aspect also. Pantani was at his peak in the 1998 time frame (ignoring all the EPO stuff), so this is four years later. His time has passed him by. I remember reading that Mark Allen many time winner of the Hawaii Ironman saying after his last win there that he could not imagine putting the work into training that would be required to be able to win the race again after winning it multiple times. SO, he walked away after a winning effort.
maybe, but.....rufus
May 30, 2002 3:04 PM
pantani is only a year older than hamilton, and two older than lance. and today's stage dominator tonkov is a year older. personally, i just wonder how much of pantani's ability was the drugs.
Team Motobecane! -nmSnowBlind
May 30, 2002 1:31 PM
LOL! -nmUncle Tim
May 31, 2002 7:11 AM
re: The defiant spirit that is Pantani. Mercatone drops him.DaveL
May 30, 2002 2:08 PM
That's a real shame, but everybody has to take his turn and time's up for Marco. He had his turn. If he organizes a new team he should come back as DS, maybe.
Reminds Me Of Joe Namath When He Left The JetsRadicalRonPruitt
May 30, 2002 2:31 PM