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Monday, February 16, 2004

One Other Thing I Should Mention

Not a cheerful subject, unfortunately.

Marco Pantani died this past weekend.

For those of you who don't know, Pantani was a professional cyclist. He won the Tour de France in 1998, a year I saw the race from the roadside.

But in recent years, Pantani's fortunes had taken a real downturn. He'd been implicated in drug scandals, and had been suffering from depression.

Like many cycling fans, I suppose, I'd been annoyed at Pantani when I heard about the doping scandals. See, cycling tends to be known more for the doping than it does for the sport. Which is a great shame because, heck, cycling is the best damn sport in the world. So us fans tend to get annoyed when a cyclist acts in a way which, again, makes cycling more about the dope that the races.

But being angry about cyclists doping doesn't change the fact that Pantani's death is tragic. He was only 34. Like most fans, I suppose, I suspected his death was suicide but latest reports seem to suggest he could have died of a heart attack. If that's the case, he'll be the latest in a long line of cyclists to have died from heart failure at a very early age.

I love cycling, and I love cyclists, and love watching them cycle, but this is way too high a price to pay.

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