Pantani and Rapha

Collar Details

Collar details on the Pantani jersey

Launching a $210 dollar jersey with an explanatory post and essay of why it’s important indicates Rapha is committed to the project and expecting some blowback. The 10th anniversary of Pantani’s death was earlier this year and the Special Edition Pantani Super Lightweight Jersey is launching in time for the Giro with these words

A Giro and Tour winner, he raced on a knife-edge, lighting up every race he competed in. But his story ended in tragedy, dying of acute cocaine poisoning after a battle with mental illness and drug addiction. To commemorate one of the most meteoric characters in the history of the sport, Rapha have produced a special edition jersey. Inspired by his career, life and the fervent love that many racing fans still have for him, proceeds from sales of the jersey will go to the Pantani Foundation, which supports youth sports provision and the jersey’s inside story label is written by Tonina Pantani.

A portion of the proceeds go to the Pantani Foundation. We don’t know anymore about this project than what’s been shared online, but it seems like a very personal thing that got greenlit into a company project.

Rapha puts itself in the center of the sport again, to their credit, they own what they do. Whether or not it’s a good idea they’ll know in the return on sales and donations.

Lance and Pantani

Photo: Mediafax

For the sport, we’re unsure of this play and find it a bit confusing because there were no gifts for Pantani. For our take on him, written by Nick Verstain, see this post and the article in Issue 11.

Pantani hated being called Elephantino and was enraged about Lance’s insult. Pantani got psyched out about it and that affected his performance in the Tour.

Lance’s greatest sin is was what he did to Il Pirata. Why Rapha brings the sport’s dirty laundry into their line without mentioning his role in the Q/A or essay, they’ll have to explain more for us to better understand what they’re doing. A quiet contribution may have been more appropriate, just a decade since his death, and one without all their marketing language.

I asked Sal Ruibal about commemorating Pantani and he said

Pantani was like Johnny Rotten. Brilliant, insane, addicted, a romantic, a liar, when young he was targeted by bullies, easily corrupted, weak, but he had moments that transcended sport – not because he was doping – but that he was killing himself in front of the world. When the world tried to stop him, he killed himself. It’s a good story but don’t glorify him, just let him be.



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