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Calling all TDF Historians!(6 posts)

Calling all TDF Historians!PseuZQ
Dec 31, 2003 7:30 PM
Was there aver a guy who rode all the stages pirate/bandit, like in 1991?

Reason I ask is that I ran into a guy today on my ride who claims to have done this. I'm skeptical, but stranger things have happened.

Anyone know? (And please don't offer to sell me waterfront property in Arizona!) nmtorquecal
Dec 31, 2003 7:51 PM
re: Calling all TDF Historians!il sogno
Dec 31, 2003 7:57 PM
Though I may be wrong, chances are your dude is referring to Marco Pantani, an Italian rider who dubbed himself "Il Pirata," the Pirate. He wore a head scarf and an earring. For a while you could get a saddle emblazoned with his face and the moniker "Il Pirata."

Though Pantani still races, his greatest days were in the mid to late 1990's. He was the finest climber of his generation. To watch him climb a mountain was a singular thrill. In 1998, the year before Lance conquered the bicycling world, Pantani won both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France - an extremely rare achievement.

In subsequent years, he ran afoul of the sport's drug laws. His career has gone steadily downhill since. He's now a shell of his former self. Nevertheless, there are still some racing fans out there, including me, who appreciate his talent and passion for the sport, and who think he was the most exciting bicyclist of the past twenty-five years.

Forgive my blathering...especially if the dude was indeed talking about ANOTHER pirate.
re: Calling all TDF Historians!russw19
Dec 31, 2003 8:24 PM
Not a chance. If he is claiming he rode all the stages in the pack during the race without being in the race... NOPE!

Especially not in 1991. There was increased security that year because of Lemond and the 1st Gulf War. Besides if the riders would have caught this guy in the pack they would have flicked him. And for him to claim he rode the whole race, every stage, there is no way he could have done it and not been noticed.

Now, could the guy claim he rode the same route that the tour went over and did every stage... possible, but to say he rode during the actual race is a bunch of BS.

Keep in mind, I can't prove my thinking, but I seriously doubt this guy could back his claims either, so it comes down to if you want to believe logic or fish tales. It's up to you.

Like I said...skeptical, esp. under the circumstances.PseuZQ
Dec 31, 2003 9:03 PM
I hate to bust anyone's chops or anything... But it was weird. I was at the top of one of our local climbs, and this guy stops in his pickup truck with his nephew and starts talking to me. Not on a bike, even. We do have some hotshot riders here in the SF area, so you never know...

I have, however, come across some really wacky pathological prevaricators in the past, which seems like a more likely scenario.
Definitely not possible,TJeanloz
Jan 1, 2004 7:16 AM
It depends on his definition of "bandit" - it would be entirely possible to ride the entire route of the Tour either several hours before or after the actual race came through. It would be a pretty amazing accomplishment though.

As far as riding in the race, with the group - no chance. If you were a former superstar (e.g. Eddy Merckx) the riders might think it was cool to have you along for the ride. If you're Joe Schmoe American bike racer, you're getting pushed into the first telephone pole that comes along. Riders are very concerned about their safety in big races - and they would see a spectator joining the race as a threat to their safety, rather than a comedic interlude.