Pantani

Con Pantani nel cuore

Il 14 Febbraio non è solo San Valentino, festa degli innnamorati, dei cuori rossi, dei cioccolatini di una nota marca (ancora più nota dopo che sul primo canale della RAI hanno trasmesso una miniserie sulla loro creatrice: così ho letto!), delle rose rosse dal lungo e spinoso gambo…
Da qualche anno, dodici per la precisione, ricorre il triste anniversario della morte del grande Pantani, venuto a mancare il 14 Febbraio 2004 in un albergo di Rimini in circostanze ancor’oggi non del tutto chiare. Marco Pantani è stato un eccezionale ciclista, uno dei pochi che è riuscito nell’impresa di vincere Giro d’Italia e Tour de France nello stesso anno (1998), dopo che la sua carriera era stata più volte condizionata da infortuni. Era un grande campione, ma anche una persona molto fragile tanto che non riuscì a reggere l’onta della squalifica inflittagli nel 1999. Probabilmente, se non fosse stato abbandonato da chi prima gli era a fianco, non avrebbe fatto quella fine… Così la pensano in molti, anche Venditti, uno dei miei cantautori preferiti, che nel 2008 dedicò anche a Pantani la canzone “Tradimento e perdono“.

Questa volta, non ho intenzione di sintetizzarvi la storia di Pantani, ma voglio offrirvi un mio personale ricordo del Pirata. Negli anni dei suoi trionfi, io ero molto piccolo ma imparai ad amare questo grande sportivo e ad appassionarmi alle sue imprese, soprattutto per merito di mio nonno materno che mi coinvolgeva nel suo tifo, incollati davanti alla televisione a emozionarmi per lui, inconfondibile protagonista di tante tappe.

marco pantani in THE 2003 GIRO
marco pantani in THE 2003 GIRO

Per uno scherzo del destino, Pantani fu escluso dal Giro d’Italia per valori dell’ematocrito superiori al consentito (non per doping!) proprio a Madonna di Campiglio sulle Dolomiti di Brenta dove, sin dalla nascita, trascorro lunghi periodi di vacanza. Per un ragazzino com’ero allora, fu un dolore ancora più grande, la mia delusione investì anche la famosa località di villeggiatura e, quell’anno, fui contento di trascorrere una vacanza lunga al mare prima di arrivare su quelle montagne, dove ancora ad agosto si potevano leggere le scritte inneggianti al Pirata, per terra, sui massi… Era come se colpevolizzassi Campiglio di quello che gli era successo. Nonostante quell’episodio, non smisi mai di tifarlo e di sperare in un suo ritorno ai grandi livelli. Purtroppo il suo riscatto non arrivò mai, come lui stesso temeva quando affermò “ Mi spiace ma non tornerò mai più quello di prima. Ridiventerò competitivo, ma non sarò più quello di prima, perché ho subito una grandissima ingiustizia..”

La mia stima verso di lui era così grande che, quando seppi della morte, mi misi a piangere, insieme al nonno… Fin da subito, però, pensai che le cose non erano andate come sembravano all’inizio e ho apprezzato la tenacia e la forza di volontà della madre che continua a lottare perchè sia fatta giustizia. Spero che ciò accada, lo si deve a lui, alla sua famiglia e a tutti noi che l’abbiamo tifato, abbiamo creduto in lui e lo ricordiamo ancora oggi con grande rimpianto.

Sono moltissime persone, infatti, che tengono ancora vivo il ricordo del Pirata in mille modi, tutti colorati, generosi come lui. Striscioni e scritte, che lo ricordano, sono una costante sulle strade del Giro d’Italia. Ho avuto conferma di ciò lo scorso 24 Maggio, quando non mi volli perdere il passaggio del Giro da Madonna di Campiglio. Proprio nella tappa che aveva come punto d’arrivo la Perla delle Dolomiti , Pantani ha avuto la sua rivincita: decine e decine di tifosi con magliette a lui dedicate; bandiere svolazzanti a ogni curva sotto un cielo plumbeo che sembrava voler punire, a distanza di anni, la località dolomitica; bandane gialle a ovunque; scritte a caratteri cubitali, piene di affetto e stima sull’asfalto, sui massi dei tornanti…
PANTANI ERA TORNATO A CAMPIGLIO DA VINCITORE!
(Peccato che anche il nonno, nel frattempo, se ne sia andato…)

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