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Armstrong, Wiggins head up list of former pros invited to Marco Pantani 'Champion's Ride'

Joe Robinson
31 Jan 2018

Contador, Cipollini and Indurain also likely participants in event marking 20th anniversary of Giro-Tour double

Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and Bradley Wiggins head up a list of former pros who have been invited to take part in a one-off 'Champion's Ride' in September to mark the 20th anniversary of March Pantani's Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double.

According to Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport, the late Pantani's mother, Tonina, decided to reach out to these high profile riders in order to create a special event remembering her son, who died from a cocaine overdose in 2004.

The Champion's Ride is set ot take place on 1st September, the day before the annual Granfondo Marco Pantani sportive.

Besides the gran fondo and Champion's Ride, the event will also host a gala dinner and party in Pantani's hometown of Cesenatico.

Other riders reported by the Gazzetta to have confirmed their participation include another former Giro-Tour double winner in Miguel Indurain, Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini and German Tour winner Jan Ullrich.

Former Giro champions Pavel Tonkov and Ivan Basso complete the star-studded list.

The invite of Armstrong appears to be an olive branch from Tonina Pantani to settle the long-standing bitter rivalry between the American and the late Italian. 

While both were at the peak of their powers in similar eras, they were remarkably different characters. Pantani was famed for his outlandish attacks and lack of caution while Armstrong more for his meticulous attention to detail and ruthless strength.

This ultimately saw the two riders clash, culminating in the famous ascent of Mont Ventoux at the 2000 Tour de France in which Armstrong claimed he allowed Pantani to win the stage, resulting in a public fallout.

The two never managed to reconcile before Pantani's death. 

While the 'Champion's Ride' will be limited to a small number of invited riders, the Granfondo itself is open to the public, with a choice of three distances – 73km, 107km and 145km. All routes will visit the Pantani memorial on the Cippo di Carpegna.