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The Death of Marco Pantani: A Biography [Hardcover]

Matt Rendell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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'Superficially [Pantani] appears to be a familiar type of sporting self-destructor. Like George Best, Diego Maradona, Alex "Hurricane" Higgins, and so on, he was prodigiously gifted; like them, he couldn't handle success and its aftermath. But, if Rendell is right (and the evidence does seem conclusive) unlike them, he was a pharmaceutical creation almost from the beginning. He was "cycling's greatest cheat"...It is the pursuit of this revelation that makes so readable.' (Bryan Appleyard NEW STATESMAN (3.7.06))

'an excellent book about the life and death of il Pirata, The Pirate, as Pantani was known. Rendell has interviewed dozens of those closest to Pantani to paint an intimate and sympathetic - if unsentimental - picture...this is also a work of meticulous investigative journalism that shatters whatever doubts anyone could still have about systematic doping in cycling.' (Xan Rice OBSERVER SPORTS MONTHLY (2.7.06))

'[a] sad, exhaustively detailed and beautiful book...This book, unflinching though it is, serves as a fitting, ambivalent tribute - to the man, and to the dark heart of the sport he loved.' (Chris Maume INDEPENDENT (4.7.06))

'Matt Rendell must have been a forensic detective in a previous life, because while his research for the chapters up to mdc is particularly impressive, his account of the years of desperation leading to Marco's eventual death is breathtaking...Matt Rendell is to be congratulated on the tenacity of his investigations and for producing such a readable and absorbing account.' (

'There are three passages in this brilliant but nightmarishly bleak book where, caught up in the excitement of Pantani in his pomp, Matt Rendell switches to the present tense to describe his greatest victories. The writing here is breathless, awe-struck, more evocative and incisive than TV pictures or newspaper reports could ever be. But Rendell, although a fan, is meticulous and painstaking and he investigates the Shakespearean tragedy of Pantani's life as if it were a crime scene.' (Angus Batey THE TIMES (22.7.06))

Book Description

Intimate biography of the charismatic Tour de France winner and the world that caused his downfall --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

'This is a genuinely tragic sporting tale told with startling
clarity... Matt Rendell should be applauded for not letting his compassion
for 'Il Pirata' cloud his vision and interpretation of the man's life.
There are no stones left unturned here.' Simon Brotherton, BBC Radio

About the Author

MATT RENDELL survived Hodgkin's Disease and lecturing at British and Latvian universities before entering TV and print journalism. He is the author of A Significant Other (W&N, 2004), a top ten sports book and Kings of the Mountains (Aurum, 2002). His Channel 4 documentary on Colombian cycling was described in The Observer as 'a gem, telling us more about the essence of sport in under an hour than a season's worth of Premiership matches.' He has written for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, including British coverage of the Tour de France. The National Sporting Club named Matt Rendell 'Best New Sports Writer 2003.'
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