The Bianchi bike on which Marco Pantani rode in his final Tour de France in 2000, when he beat Lance Armstrong atop Mount Ventoux, has been sold at auction for €66,000.
Italian national coach Davide Cassani, backed by a group of Italian business people, outbid a number of collectors, including a football player from Italy’s Serie A who wanted to remain anonymous.
A second Bianchi bike prepared for the 2000 Sydney Olympics went for €46,000, with a number of pink jerseys and other trophies and paintings raising a total of €161,000.
All the bikes and objects come from the Mercatone Uno museum. The Italian home goods chain sponsored Pantani for much of his career but has recently gone into bankruptcy.
Pantani used the Bianchi bike at the 2000 Tour de France, where he battled with Lance Armstrong on Mont Ventoux and also won the stage to Courchevel, before eventually abandoning the race with stomach problems. It is black and celeste but also has touches of pink to match the Mercatone Uno pink colours that replaced the usual yellow to avoid clashing with the maillot jaune of race leader.
Pantani died on February 14, 2004, after barricading himself in a hotel room in Rimini under the effects of cocaine and antidepressants. The winner of the 1998 Giro and Tour suffered greatly with substance abuse and mental health-related problems following his disqualification from the 1999 Giro due to a high haematocrit level.
The Italian auction house Bolaffi said it would forgo its usual fee of 25% of the sale price if the bike was donated to the Pantani museum now run by his family in Cesenatico. The final €66,000 was more than double than the expected price.
“The idea is to donate the bike to the museum on January 13, Marco’s birthday,” Cassani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We’re donating it to the Pantani museum so that everyone can see it. I have to thank the group of friends who helped us with the funds for the auction. Without them it would have been impossible to offer such a high price."
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.