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Gallery: Marco Pantani through the lens

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Marco Pantani at the 1997 Fleche Wallonne where he would finish in 5th place on the day to Laurent Jalabert.

Marco Pantani at the 1997 Fleche Wallonne where he would finish in 5th place on the day to Laurent Jalabert.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Pantani on the podium after his first professional victory in Merano at the 1994 Giro d'Italia

Pantani on the podium after his first professional victory in Merano at the 1994 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pantani smiles after taking a second consecutive stage at trhe 1994 Giro d'Italia

Pantani smiles after taking a second consecutive stage at trhe 1994 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pantani on the attack while wearing the best young rider's white jersey in the 1994 Giro d'Italia

Pantani on the attack while wearing the best young rider's white jersey in the 1994 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A young but happy Pantani

A young but happy Pantani
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pantani leads Evgeni Berzin and Tony Rominger in the 1995 Giro del Trentino

Pantani leads Evgeni Berzin and Tony Rominger in the 1995 Giro del Trentino
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pantani works in the gym after breaking his leg in 1995

Pantani works in the gym after breaking his leg in 1995
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pantani attacks out of the saddle in the 1995 Tour de France

Pantani attacks out of the saddle in the 1995 Tour de France
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A pensive Marco Pantani

A pensive Marco Pantani
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pantani on the way to victory at L'Alpe d'Huez in the 1997 Tour de France

Pantani on the way to victory at L'Alpe d'Huez in the 1997 Tour de France
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pantani wins in Morzine at the 1997 Tour

Pantani wins in Morzine at the 1997 Tour
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Marco Pantani post-race

Marco Pantani post-race
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A smiling Pantani savours his first pink in Selva Val Gardena

A smiling Pantani savours his first pink in Selva Val Gardena
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Marco Pantani in action at the 2002 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani in action at the 2002 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fans of Marco Pantani at the 2013 road world championships in Florence, Italy

Fans of Marco Pantani at the 2013 road world championships in Florence, Italy
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani on the back of a six-man group during a mountain stage of the 2003 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani on the back of a six-man group during a mountain stage of the 2003 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani enjoys plenty of fan support during the 2003 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani enjoys plenty of fan support during the 2003 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani regroups after crashing during the 2003 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani regroups after crashing during the 2003 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in the mountains during stage 18 at the 2003 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani in the mountains during stage 18 at the 2003 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani regroups after crashing during the 2003 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani regroups after crashing during the 2003 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in action during the 2003 Giro d'Italia, the final Grand Tour of his career

Marco Pantani in action during the 2003 Giro d'Italia, the final Grand Tour of his career
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani on the attack during the 2001 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani on the attack during the 2001 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani with Mercatone Uno teammate Daniele De Paoli at the 2001 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani with Mercatone Uno teammate Daniele De Paoli at the 2001 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani at home in the mountains during the 2000 Tour de France

Marco Pantani at home in the mountains during the 2000 Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani on the attack ahead of maglia rosa Gilberto Simoni during stage 19 of the 2003 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani on the attack ahead of maglia rosa Gilberto Simoni during stage 19 of the 2003 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani pushes the pace during the 2003 Giro d'Italia and is followed by Dario Frigo, Wladimir Belli, Gilberto Simoni and Yarolslav Popovych

Marco Pantani pushes the pace during the 2003 Giro d'Italia and is followed by Dario Frigo, Wladimir Belli, Gilberto Simoni and Yarolslav Popovych
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Professional cyclists pay their respects at the grave of Marco Pantani

Professional cyclists pay their respects at the grave of Marco Pantani
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Gilberto Simoni pays his respects at the grave of Marco Pantani after winning the Memorial Marco Pantani race in 2005

Gilberto Simoni pays his respects at the grave of Marco Pantani after winning the Memorial Marco Pantani race in 2005
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Marco Pantani memorial in his hometown of Cesenatico

The Marco Pantani memorial in his hometown of Cesenatico
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani bundled up against the elements during the 2002 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani bundled up against the elements during the 2002 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in action during the 2002 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani in action during the 2002 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in action during the 2002 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani in action during the 2002 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani and Davide Cassani at the start of the 2002 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Marco Pantani and Davide Cassani at the start of the 2002 Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani pushes the pace during a mountain stage at the 2001 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani pushes the pace during a mountain stage at the 2001 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The custom saddle of 'Il Pirata' Marco Pantani

The custom saddle of 'Il Pirata' Marco Pantani
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lance Armstrong leads Marco Pantani and Roberto Heras on a mountain stage at the 2000 Tour de France

Lance Armstrong leads Marco Pantani and Roberto Heras on a mountain stage at the 2000 Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in action at the 2000 Tour de France where he won two stages prior to withdrawing.

Marco Pantani in action at the 2000 Tour de France where he won two stages prior to withdrawing.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in action during the 1998 Giro d'Italia, which he would win overall

Marco Pantani in action during the 1998 Giro d'Italia, which he would win overall
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani uncorks the bubbly after winning the first of two stages at the 1998 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani uncorks the bubbly after winning the first of two stages at the 1998 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Maro Pantani wins stage 14 at the 1998 Giro d'Italia

Maro Pantani wins stage 14 at the 1998 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani at the 1998 Giro d'Italia, which he would win overall.

Marco Pantani at the 1998 Giro d'Italia, which he would win overall.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani leads Richard Virenque and maillot jaune Jan Ullrich at the 1997 Tour de France

Marco Pantani leads Richard Virenque and maillot jaune Jan Ullrich at the 1997 Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani celebrates his solo victory on Alpe d'Huez in stage 13 at the 1997 Tour de France

Marco Pantani celebrates his solo victory on Alpe d'Huez in stage 13 at the 1997 Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The final GC podium at the 1997 Tour de France (L-R): mountains winner Richard Virenque, 2nd; Jan Ullrich, 1st; Marco Pantani 3rd

The final GC podium at the 1997 Tour de France (L-R): mountains winner Richard Virenque, 2nd; Jan Ullrich, 1st; Marco Pantani 3rd
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in action during the 1997 Tour de France where he would win two stages and place third overall.

Marco Pantani in action during the 1997 Tour de France where he would win two stages and place third overall.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani climbs behind maglia rosa wearer Pavel Tonkov at the 1997 Giro d'Italia. Pantani would withdraw after stage 8 following a crash.

Marco Pantani climbs behind maglia rosa wearer Pavel Tonkov at the 1997 Giro d'Italia. Pantani would withdraw after stage 8 following a crash.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani attacked on the Cipressa during the 1999 edition of Milano-Sanremo

Marco Pantani attacked on the Cipressa during the 1999 edition of Milano-Sanremo
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Defending Giro d'Italia champion in the maglia rosa during the 1999 edition of the Italian Grand Tour

Defending Giro d'Italia champion in the maglia rosa during the 1999 edition of the Italian Grand Tour
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani on the podium after winning the Mont Ventoux stage at the 2000 Tour de France

Marco Pantani on the podium after winning the Mont Ventoux stage at the 2000 Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani and Ivan Gotti climb head-to-head in the 1999 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani and Ivan Gotti climb head-to-head in the 1999 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in the overall lead at the 1999 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani in the overall lead at the 1999 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani time trials in the maglia rosa in stage 18 of the 1999 Giro d'Italia. Two stages later he would be expelled after a failed haematocrit test

Marco Pantani time trials in the maglia rosa in stage 18 of the 1999 Giro d'Italia. Two stages later he would be expelled after a failed haematocrit test
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A determined Marco Pantani leads Ivan Gotti during the 1999 Giro d'Italia

A determined Marco Pantani leads Ivan Gotti during the 1999 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani resplendent in the maglia rosa during the 1999 Giro d'Italia

Marco Pantani resplendent in the maglia rosa during the 1999 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani wore the maglia rosa at the 1999 Giro d'Italia, but was expelled from the race with two stages remaining while in the overall lead

Marco Pantani wore the maglia rosa at the 1999 Giro d'Italia, but was expelled from the race with two stages remaining while in the overall lead
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A Pantani fan at the 1999 Giro d'Italia

A Pantani fan at the 1999 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marco Pantani in the maglia rosa at the 1999 Giro d'Italia, which he would leave in disgrace after a failed haematocrit test

Marco Pantani in the maglia rosa at the 1999 Giro d'Italia, which he would leave in disgrace after a failed haematocrit test
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

February 14, St Valentine's Day, marks the anniversary of the death of Marco Pantani, one of cycling’s most flamboyant characters who was found dead in a Rimini hotel room in 2004. His fantastic successes at a time of the sport’s greatest excesses have produced a vibrant yet tarnished legacy. 

Pantani turned professional with the Carrera jeans team in the summer of 1992 and took his first professional victory with the team in 1994, with back to back victories in the mountains of the 1994 Giro d'Italia. He went on to finish second behind Evgeni Berzin and ahead of Miguel Indurain. 

The Mercatone Uno team was created around Pantani in 1997 and he would remain with the Italian chain-store through the remainder of his professional cycling career which came to a conclusion following the 2003 Giro d'Italia, the Italian's final race where he finished 14th overall.

Pantani's stint with Mercatone Uno included both the pinnacle of his career - the 1998 Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double, the last time a rider has won both Grand Tours in a single season - and its nadir at the 1999 Giro d'Italia where Pantani would be expelled from the race with two stages remaining, while in the maglia rosa, due to an elevated haematocrit.

Pantani returned to racing the next year in 2000, winning two stages at the Tour de France including a head-to-head duel with Lance Armstrong on the slopes of Mont Ventoux, but he was never the same again.

Italian photographer Emanuele Sirotti lived just a few kilometres from Pantani and captured some iconic images of Pantani in his early years. Tim De Waele captured many of Pantani's exploits on the bike during the Italian's Mercatone Uno years from 1997 through 2003.

Click here to view the gallery.