I recently read The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell. From the title it was pretty obvious that the book wasn’t going to focus on Pantani’s cycling triumphs, however it did take a chronological journey through his life from childhood to professional cyclist and his subsequent sad decline.
The book is essentially a piece of investigative journalism into the systematic doping of professional cyclists and in particular the affects of this system on the fragile and obsessive character of Pantani.
I found myself exhilarated by Rendell’s early descriptions of Pantani’s cycling victories in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia but upset by the uncontrollable disintegration of his life, resulting in his tragic and untimely death. Did professional cycling take advantage of Pantani or vice-versa? I’m not sure, but either way it’s a riveting and tragic story.