Lance Armstrong and Bradley Wiggins among riders invited to Marco Pantani granfondo

2018 event will mark the 20th anniversary of Pantani's Giro/Tour double

Marco Pantani leads Lance Armstrong up Mont Ventoux in 2000

(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

A festival and granfondo in celebration of the 20th anniversary Marco Pantani's Giro/Tour double in 1998 could have a pretty good guest list with organisers having reportedly invited the likes of Lance Armstrong, Bradley Wiggins, and Alberto Contador.

The gran fondo has taken place for a number of years, but for 2018 Pantani's mother, Tonina, wanted a special event including a gala dinner and party in the family's hometown of Cesenatico, inviting some pretty big riders from the last 20 years.

According to Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ivan Basso, Miguel Indurain, Jan Ullrich, Mario Cipollini, and Pavel Tonkov are among the former riders to have already confirmed their attendance for the "champion's ride" on September 1.

Former pro Alessandro Vanotti, who rode for the likes of Milram, Liquigas, and Astana during a 13-year professional career, has been charged with inviting the star names to the event, and also hopes to attract Lance Armstrong and Bradley Wiggins to the east-coast of Italy, although he says that he has had difficult securing Alberto Contador's attendance.

The granfondo itself will take place on September 2, with three choices of distance at 73km, 107km, and 145km, with all three routes passing in front of the statue to Pantani in his hometown.

Marco Pantani's victories in the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in 1998 marked the last time that a rider won the two biggest Grand Tours in a single year, a feat that Chris Froome is aiming to emulate in 2018.

However Pantani's career was plagued by doping as he was expelled from the 1999 Giro d'Italia after a test showed him to have a high haematocrit level indicative of the use of EPO. He died in 2004 after suffering a cerebral edema and heart failure, most likely brought about by cocaine poisoning, although his family have unsuccessfully tried to prove that he was murdered.

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