Famous bike on view at Paul Slane’s shop

Famous bicycle at Slanes

Famous bicycle at Slanes

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The classical Italian bike manufacturers Bianchi transported one of the sports famous steads when they delivered Marco Pantini’s Giro d’Italia and Tour de France winning bike to Slane’s cycles in Andersontown Road.

The man they dubbed as Il Pirata (The Pirate) due to his famous bandana which he wore to cover his folically-challenged head plus the obligatory earings.

His attacking style in the mountains made him a big fan favourite, particular to the Tifosi (Italian cycle followers).

At five foot eight and weighing at 57 kilograms, he was the perfect build for a climber.

This year’s Giro is set to visit Pantani’s favourite training climb on Monte Carpegna and feature summit finishes at the site of two of his most famous victories - Oropa and Mantecampione.

He won both the Giro and the Tour in 1998 and famously raced up the iconic alpe d’huez in a staggering 37 minutes and 35 seconds the previous year during a stage of the Tour de France. During his success of the Giro in 1998, he also won the Maglia Azzurre for King of the Mountains and finished second in the Points Classification.

However, although he was never tested positive for any drug taking, there was always suspicion. He was expelled from the 199 Giro with alleged irregular blood values.

He later fell into a period of depression and on St Valentine’s day back in 2004, he was found dead in a Rimini hotel at the age of 34.

An autopsy revealed he had suffered a heart attack brought on by acute cocaine poisoning.

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