[Rendell's] not inconsiderable acheivement is to convey the sordid reality of the Tour while simultaneously adding to one's yearning for its lost idealism -- Matthew Syed Times
At 9:30 pm on 14 February 2004, former Tour de France winner Marco Pantani was found dead in Rimini. It emerged that he had been addicted to cocaine since Autumn 1999, weeks after being expelled from the Tour of Italy for blood doping. Conspiracy theories abounded - that he was injected in his sleep by a business rival, that the Olympic Committee had framed him, that Italian Industrialists had engineered his downfall, etc etc. If none of these is entirely true and none of them fully explains Pantani's personal tragedy, none of them is foundationless. This book debunks the myths and makes surprising revelations. About Pantani's personal tragedy, but also about the world of cycling. Matt Rendell had access not only to court transcripts but to many of Pantani's friends and the doctors who treated him. But Pantani's life is about much more than drug addiction. Lance Armstrong described him as 'more of an artist than an athlete - an extravagant figure ...' Despite being plagued with injuries he won both the Giro and the Tour in 1998, something very few cyclists even attempt. He was an inspirational icon, and the remarkable wins against all odds make gripping reading.