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Posted October 22, 2007
On February 14th, 2004, Marco Pantani was found dead in a hotel in Rimini. The death of this iconic cyclist of Italy was both shocking and tragic. Matt Rendell does an excellent job of tracing this athlete¿s life and exposing the inconvenient truths of the sport he loved. It begins by making you fall in love with Marco¿s character and you find yourself cheering for him in every race and circumstance that he is in. It describes the peace that Marco feels when he is suffering in the mountains and the beauty of his unmatched attacks on the steepest of climbs. After winning both the Giro and the Tour in 1998, he was on top of the cycling world. During the 1999 Giro, the world was ripped out from under his feet when his haematocrit levels exceeded the UCI¿s standards and he was suspended for blood doping. Although nobody wanted to believe that their favorite cyclist was doping 'Matt Rendell included', Rendell easily finds enough evidence to prove it legitimate. Marco began using cocaine shortly after this affair and he was addicted to it through is death. This book does a great job of showing how devastating cheating in sports can be and Rendell¿s in-depth research exposes the dark heart of cycling. The writing here is captivating and it¿s a devastating roller coaster ride all the way through. Rendell really makes you identify with Marco¿s character so that you feel a connection with the book and it¿s almost impossible to put down. The first 50 pages are a little difficult to get through, especially if you¿re not into cycling, but after that it becomes a read that everyone can connect with. This is definitely a good read for almost anyone, but especially athletes, because it really stresses the importance of competing fairly even in a sport submerged in cheating. If you enjoy this book, I would also suggest reading A Significant Other by Matt Rendell as he profiles what it¿s like to be Lance Armstrong¿s right hand man in the Tour. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book and I think it¿s an excellent read for everyone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.