I have seriously mixed feelings about promoting & celebrating Pantani. Mostly about the double standards. Where’s the “Lance 7” Rapha jersey? It’s as apt as celebrating Ullrich and Pantani in my opinion.
I think what makes Pantani such an enduring figure is that he attacked—a lot, and successfully. He was a iconoclast: bald, big-eared, goateed, and entirely unclinical in his racing. From ‘99 on (and really, before that, with Indurain) success through bold, unrestrained aggression has been hard to come by at the one event everyone watches.
That excuses nothing, of course. Pantani was as much a part of the hypocrisy as Lance was, though in the Italian’s defense, he told fewer lies about it and ruined fewer lives defending his reputation. In the end, he took the contradictions he lived out on himself.
I understand that Rapha needs to sell clothes, and as I said above, I understand why Pantani resonates. Still, you think they’d be a bit more judicious in their offerings. I can’t afford to consider myself in Rapha’s target audience, but if I could, I’d be far more interested in a Christophe Bassons collection.