Gazzetta della Sport interviewed Marco Pantani and our friend Francesco has
kindly translated the interview for us.
Photo courtesy of pantani.it
GdS: Pantani, are you ready to come back to races?
MP: I’d like to come back as soon as possible. I’m out since the Giro
2002 and this is an injustice. The TAS (Sporting Court) has to pronounce but I’m
very calm! No problem if they will stop me again; patience, I won’t change my
programs, I want to come back and this is a challenge I have to accept with
GdS: Why did you accept Boifava as new director?
MP: I have known him since I was young, when I wasn’t a professional
cyclist. Once in 1991 he even scolded me 'cause I had too much long hair! Now I
need to have people around me I can trust, somebody that can be a landmark for
me. I appreciate Boifava very much and gave him “carte blanche”.
GdS: They talk about the possibility for you to go to the Scanavino
team or the Sidermec team. And they’re looking for you even from abroad…
MP: Yes, but I don’t have the intention to go in Germany or Spain, nor
to join a team just 'cause it yet has the possibility to participate to the
“Tour de France”… this isn’t the way I want go, that I should have to
“sacrifice” and renounce to the mates who were the most near to me (Conti or
Fontanelli for instance). Moreover I won the Giro and the Tour without having a
GdS: Garzelli is sure to participate in the Tour with the former
MP: Garzelli is a champion and deserves a big team, but I yet told I
don’t wanna sacrifice the people who were near me in the bad moments. The
journalist writes that nowadays the most possible solution is to reach Scanavino
GdS: We see you changed… what happened to you?
MP: Even in the worst moments I felt it still wasn’t the time to stop
racing. I decided to stay alone for some time and look inside of me. To go with
a bicycle you need serenity, it’s a matter of physical and mental balance. I’m
lucky because my physique allows me to react well, this is a “gift” I had from
the nature and from this I have to start again.
GdS: What was the most delicate moment?
MP: After the disqualification I lost confidence in myself, I closed
myself without searching contacts with others. In those moments I understood
that I would have found a solution only doing the things I’m able to do well,
and for me it’s going with a bike! I began running in summer, then in October I
first used a MTB as I was still fed up with other bikes. Now I’m ready.
GdS: What’s your dream?
MP: It’s not a dream but a target. I’d like to come back to my old,
good level, finding the psychological confidence I had in the past. This would
mean that I still could “fight” with Lance Armstrong, I could give him a hard
nut to crack!
GdS: What do you think about the possibility to race in the same team
MP: Unluckily it was only a commercial operation by Cipollini’s
managers who were looking for new sponsors, it was not a serious proposal at
all! It’s a pity as I talked with Mario twice and we were both happy about the
possibility to join the same team.