Big Mig & IL Pirata - ‘95 Worlds
Big names of the old sport.
Interesting to mention that this isn’t the sprint for first. There’s a reasonably watchable 17-minute cut on YouTube, and it’s easy enough to spoil it yourself with Google.
But what I just now noticed and found funny are Pantani’s bar extensions. They were called “Spinaci"—a relatively direct reference to the cartoon character Popeye’s PED of choice, at a time when an actual performance-enhancer was putting the sport on its head.
The UCI, however, found Spinaci far easier to deal with. Citing increasing numbers of accidents at the Tour de France—which probably had as much to do with supercharged athletes as handlebar position—the UCI banned Spinaci (and “carbon spoke wheels”) in 1997.
The UCI’s effort against EPO—the 50% hematocrit mark—was implemented the same year, but unwittingly encouraged riders to dope, so long as they stayed below the limit. Efforts to sort out who exactly did what through the ensuing decade (or so) continues to grab headline space to this very day.