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Enough of the doping insinuations. What are your favorite Pantani moments?

For me it was during the '95 Tour. A young Marco Pantani was riding in his first Tour de France. At the beginning of the Tour, Phil and Paul chatted excitedly about this young, dynamic Italian climber. One of the best they've seen they said, and a rider who promises great things to come.

It was on the stage to L'Alpe d'Huez. The peloton was splintered, some already on the climb, some still on the roads around Le Bourg d'Oisons. The top climbers of the day, Le Blanc, et al. had attacked and were already making their way up the Alpe. The "men that mattered", Indurain and Co. were in a group of about a dozen riders, just starting the climb and eyeing each other warily. Pantani had gotten stuck in the main peloton but through Le Bourg d'Oisons had leap frogged his way up to the contenders.

The Moment: Pantani came up to the Indurain group just as they rounded one of the cruelly steep switchbacks at the bottom of the climb. He danced by them on the steepest part of the switchback as if they were standing still. The look on Indurain's face was classic. I can still see it now. His jaw just about dropped to the ground. Not because of Pantani's explosive acceleration - Indurain had raced against Pantani before - but probably because he glanced down and saw the Pantani was on his big chainring! You could see on Indurain's face that for an instant he considered getting on to Pantani's wheel then thought the better of it.

Pantani went on to reel in every one of the climbers farther up the Alpe, winning the stage in the fastest time ever.
 

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Lots of climbing moments but how about descents?

I remember seeing him descending, ass above his rear wheel, stomach on the saddle. Absolute madness but he kept the time he gained going up, on the way down. And this was long before Extebarria and the superman moment in the Vuelta.
 

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I don't remember the particulars but it was the base of the final climb leading to a mountain top finish in the Giro (maybe 1999) and Pantani flatted at the bottom so he started the climb 30 or 45 seconds behind the group. And as it was splintering on the lower slopes Pantani used his Mercatone Uno team mates to work his way through the riders until he set off on his own. He raced by the other riders as if they were standing still until he swept up Jalabert and went on to the solo victory. Absolutely brilliant.
 

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this one's pretty good<img src="http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~wenger/images/pantani.jpg">

but on recollection my favorite was when he elbowed the guy dressed up like a rooster while dropping ullrich for his record climb on Alpe D'Huez in 97. absolutely unbelievable climber. I think Ligget said something to the effect of "he climbs like an angel" in reference to him at one point. no one better.
 
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