Ten years on from the death of one the most gifted climbers in the history of cycling, PANTANI: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist, tells the tragic story of the demise of one of the sport’s most intriguing characters.
A New Black Films and Media Squared Films production in association with 4 Rights, the work charts the meteoric rise and spectacular fall of Marco Pantani, the cyclist affectionately known as ‘Il Pirata’ for his diminutive, pirate-like image. Born in 1970 to a humble family in Cesanatico in northern Italy, by the late 1990’s Pantani had become the most successful, flamboyant and popular cyclist of his era.
In 1998, Pantani won both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia – a titanic feat of physical and mental endurance that no rider has repeated since. He was a hero to millions; at the time, the saviour of cycling following the doping scandals, which threatened to destroy the sport. However, less than six years later, aged just 34, he died alone, in a cheap Italian hotel room.
PANTANI: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist explores the startling truth behind one man’s remarkable descent from being amongst the finest athletes on earth to his tragic end in a sport riven by intrigue. The film combines scintillating race archive with contemporary news footage, stylised reconstructions, and interviews with Pantani’s friends, family, colleagues, and rivals, including Sir Bradley Wiggins, Evgeni Berzin and Greg LeMond.
Anticipation around the film in Italy, the UK and across the world has been high, with intrigue surrounding the enigmatic Pantani as strong now as in his heyday. Revelations about cycling’s dark doping history in the years since his death – and the inevitable accusations of his own participation in that culture – have done little to diminish the regard in which his outstanding natural talent is held. Public interest in the reasons behind Pantani’s flaws and a desire to learn his own side of his story has led to its telling on film for the first time.
PANTANI was made by the successful British partnership behind previous sporting documentaries One Night in Turin and The Battle of the Sexes. Multi-talented writer and director James Erskine also took on production duties together with Victoria Gregory, whose credits include the BAFTA Award-winning Senna and Academy Award-winning Man on Wire.
The film was launched last Thursday in Milan, Italy, and was attended by Pantani’s family, including his mother Tonina – who appears in the film – and father Paolo. It is now being shown across Italy in one of the largest ever releases for a feature documentary, and is set for a UK cinema release in late April 2014.
For further information, please visit www.pantanifilm.com.
The trailer, kindly hosted by Rapha, is available to view now: