Miles Davis, Marco Pantani, and Me

Iconic photo by Anton Corbijn

I’m utterly compelled to watch the vid of “il Pirata” blazing up through Italian mountain towns in the drops because it’s…..compelling. The maliga rosa. The bald head. The Bianchi. The down tube shifters. The helmet-less heads. The Neon. The Miles Davis soundtrack. The dope……….

Sometimes I watch when I can’t sleep, (usually in the late spring through the summer when the Grand Tours are happening) like tonight here in London. And I’ve since got bikes on the brain as I prepare to take the train over to Paris, and then fly down to Limoge to join the “Grandest of Grand Tours” for stages 5, 6, and 7 next week, this hauntingly beautiful video that shows Marco Pantani in 1999, at the height of his doped prowess, flying up a climb in the Giro d’Italia and set to an otherworldly Miles Davis soundtrack just seems to speak to me.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I know nothing about music. I’m in fact a Philistine when it comes to music. I mean, I’ve been known to turn the Motley Crue and the Guns ‘n Roses on my “walkman” way up to 11.

But I also know that Miles Davis was plugged into something else. His music is not just music, it’s what the universe sounds like way down deep. It’s like the holy OM.


And, as you’ll see in the video above, the startling notes and sounds—that were, no doubt, accentuating something Miles felt in the plasma of universe in the recording studio at the time—and the demonic guitar chords, and the sizzle of the high-hat all seem to be in accord with the majesty of a doped-to-the-gills Pantani at the height of his prowess, powering past the peloton in the 1999 Giro.

And I’m going to be honest, I really don’t care that he’s on dope. He was on dope. Miles was on dope. It happened. And it was beautiful. Until it wasn’t. Pantani ended up in alone with his demons in a hotel room, while I ended up alone with mine on the Caribbean island of Antigua many, many years ago. Um, it’s a long story (let me know in the comments if you want me to start telling it).

I feel for Marco Pantani. I feel deep empathy for the guy that ends up dying, broke and alone in an Italian hotel room of a drug overdose on Valentines Day. That was to be my fate. But without the glory, and the you tube videos, and the money, and the Miles Davis soundtracks, and the European locale. But it would have been just as tragic.


But instead, I’m here in London to with my cute little boy, my ravishing, smart, and oh-so-accepting wife, and a bunch of people with funny accents that I love. I’m gonna see more people I love in Paris. And oh, yeah, then ride from Rodaz several hours before the pros do in stage 6 of 2016 Le Tour de France.


That’s just a little bit better than doped, dead, and alone in an Italian Motel 6 as the Miles Davis plays, right?

Written By
More from Bill Springer
Fringilla vel aliquet nec
Duis non turpis vel leo porta lobortis nec nec leo. Donec ultrices...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *