Family and friends will meet tomorrow and Saturday in Cesenatico, Italy, to celebrate Marco Pantani. The 34-year-old Italian, winner of the 1998 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, died of a cocaine overdose 10 years ago on Valentine’s Day, February 14.
Jan Ullrich, Evgeni Berzin, Giuseppe Guerini, Claudio Chiappucci, Felice Gimondi and Francesco Moser will attend In Nome di Marco on Saturday night. Tomorrow, the city will show a film and hold a church service to remember Pantani.
Pantani placed third in the Tour two times, behind winners Miguel Indurain and Ullrich, and was the last rider to win the Giro/Tour double in 1998. His last win was stage 15 of the 2000 Tour to Courchevel.
Doping accusations, however, followed him. He registered a 60.1 hematocrit level after being hospitalised following the 1995 Milan-Turin and in 1999, a hematocrit level over 50 per cent (52-53%) forced him out of the Giro.
Cancellara’s hour attempt re-scheduled
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) will not attempt the hour record until later this summer. Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that he will race through the cobbled classics Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, which he won last year, and rest.
His attempt to break the hour record, currently at 49.700 kilometres, would only come after the Tour de France in July.
Thieves steal Cannondale’s bikes
Thieves stole €100,000-worth of Cannondale’s equipment on Tuesday night from its base in northeast, Italy. Italian newspaper Messaggero Veneto reported that part of the loot included bikes belonging to team leaders Peter Sagan and Ivan Basso.
Cannondale’s base sits in Sesto al Reghena, just four kilometres from where General Manger Roberto Amadio lives. It follows a similar incident this winter for Italy other first division team. In November, thieves stole frames, wheels, SRM computers and a team van from Lampre-Merida’s base near Milan.
Degenkolb wins Tour Méditerranéen sprint
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won the opening stage of the Tour Méditerranéen today in Montagnac, France. He sprinted ahead of Danilo Napolitano (Wanty) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF).
The stage travelled northeast near the coastline and covered 223.5 kilometres. The riders face a split stage on Saturday and climb Mont Faron to finish the race on Sunday.
Quintana becomes a dad
Nairo Quintana (Movistar), second last year in the Tour de France, became a dad on Monday. He and his girlfriend Paola welcomed baby girl Mariana.
Quintana won the Tour de San Luis to open the season last month in Argentina. He returned home to Colombia to be with Paola and to train. He leaves soon because he races next in the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia on March 1.
South African Jeanne Nell dies on track
South African Jeanne Nell died after crashing on Wednesday night at Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town. The 30-year-old was racing in a Keirin race when fell and suffered head injuries, according to a Cycling South Africa.
Nell was the Keirin champion, competed in the Manchester world cup last year and was part of the national team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.