Conquista - The Cycling Quarterly Issue 2 - Page 119

Casartelli’s Legacy A Miscellany of Le Tour de France 1996 1996 It is inconceivable now to think that riders would not wear helmets when you see them hurtling down a mountainside at 70kph, but it took the horrific death of Italian rider Fabio Casartelli before helmets were finally made compulsory in 1996. No-one really knows what happened on the slopes of Portet-d’Aspet other than the riders lost control. Casartelli’s head hit a rock and some argue that had he worn a helmet it may have saved his life. The Pirate’s Record A Miscellany of Le Tour de France 1997 1997 Since 1994 the riders have been timed on their ascent of l’Alpe d’Huez (there are technically 22 bends as the first bend is numbered ‘zero’). Marco ‘Il Pirata’ Pantini holds the record of 37 minutes 35 seconds. His time was set at the height of cycling’s disgraced EPO era, and has never been beaten. “I felt the crowd close in and shout my name on the passes. I felt people’s breath on me and it made the hairs on my arms stand up on end. I’ll never feel that fulfilled again,” he enthused. 119