Astarloa at Wilier in remembrance of Pantani

The world champion of professional cyclists paused for a long time in front of the bike used by Marco Pantani at the 1997 edition of the Tour de France.
27 August 2004 – Igor Astarloa toured the models exhibited at the Wilier Triestina showroom, intrigued by the mechanical features, the structure of the frames and the aesthetic solutions. If one did not know who he is, one could easily mistake him for a novice bewitched by the technology applied to bikes. Then he stares at a yellow bike with a black rosette on the handlebar: it is the bike Marco Pantani rode to win the Alpe d’Huez and Morzine stages of the Tour de France of 1997, were he ranked third. No one had told him that the bike was there; a surprise that envelops the champion in a long silence while he touches it in awe, examining every detail as if to fix it in his mind. “Pantani is one of the racers who made me fall in love with cycling – says Astarloa -. On a climb he would stand out from his adversaries, entrancing his fans”. He would have pictures taken with him, sign autographs, shake hands. Well known is his tale about the fall at the Athens circuit, were he injured his arm and kissed goodbye to the Olympics without even been able to give it a try. Another disappointment in this unlucky season marked by a false start with Cofidis, followed by the hopeful move to Lampre. Igor Astarloa’s visit to Wilier Triestina is about to end. A flight to Spain awaits him. He would spend some days with his family before joining the Vuelta convoy and get to the Verona world championship in one go. One last look at that yellow bike with the black ribbon, one last true smile to those who had given him such a warm welcome and then he was off in the hope to turn around a bitter season.

Marco Pantani’s bike.

With Andrea Gastaldello during a tour of the factory.

Igor Astarloa with the World Champion jersey, together with Lino Gastaldello and sons and his World Champion Wilier bike.

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3rd December 2013