Pantani Article in Observer

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by timdanaher, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. timdanaher

    timdanaher New Member

    Dec 1, 2003
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    Apologies if this has already been covered:

    A very interesting and thorough article by Matt Rendell appeared in Sunday's Observer (UK) on the death of Pantani.

    The most striking part of the article (if true, and why not?) were Pantani's blood readings after the Milan-Turin crash on 18th October. Paraphrasing slightly here:

    "on arrival [at hospital] doctors were startled to discover blood values that were abnormal, almost bizarre: his haematocrit...was 60 percent (50 per cent is high): his haemoglobin was 20.8g per 100 ml (18g is noteworthy). These values then plummeted: on 25th October with a 15.9 percent haematocrit and 5.8g haemoglobin, it took a transfusion to save his life."

    The implications are pretty clear: although Pantani was never found guilty of taking proscribed substances, there are no physiological processes that could bring about these changes naturally. Taking EPO did not cause Pantani's death. However, his self-knowledge of what he had done -- or felt that he was forced to do -- to scale the heights surely brought on the depression that led to the awful downward spiral that ended his life.

    I'm getting a little tired of all the hand wringing and breast beating that seems to be accompanying Pantani's demise -- especially after reading the letters pages in the latest comics.

    That Pantani was a natural talent -- as a climber -- is indisputable. However his victories in the grand tours were ultimately built on sand.