Tour de France

Nibali makes Pantani vow

2014-07-15 20:30
Vincenzo Nibali (AFP)

Besanon - Vincenzo Nibali will visit the tomb of Marco Pantani and pay homage to the Italian cycling great if he wins the Tour de France, he promised on Tuesday.

Pantani was the last Italian rider to triumph at the greatest cycling event in the world back in 1998.

Although he was subsequently disgraced after being kicked off the 1999 Giro d'Italia over doping suspicions, he remains a hero among Italian cycling fans.

"We all know Pantani's history and for me it would be an honour to be his successor," said Nibali of the troubled and tainted genius who died in 2004 of cocaine poisoning.

"Before coming here to the Tour, unfortunately I wasn't able to be at a presentation where his mother gave me Marco's yellow jersey, which I keep at home.

"I promised her that if all goes well I'll go to visit Marco."

Pantani was a huge fan favourite in the 1990s due to his aggressive and attacking style.

Known as Il Pirata (the pirate), he was a climb specialist and was the last rider to win both the Giro and Tour in the same year.

He was set to defend his Giro title in 1999 when he was kicked off the race just before the end after testing positive for irregular blood levels.

His haematocrit level was higher than is allowed, suggesting he had been using the banned blood booster EPO.

Although he never actually tested positive for banned substances, accusations of EPO use dogged him throughout his career.

After retiring, he suffered from serious depression and eventually overdosed on cocaine.

Nibali has already won the Vuelta Espana in 2010 and the Giro last year. If he wins the Tour this year he would join a select group of five other riders to have won all three Grand Tours.

Read more on:    tdf  |  vincenzo nibali  |  cycling

Cancellara breaks vertebrae

2015-03-27 21:31


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk



What do you enjoy most about the Tour de France?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.