CELEBRATING 20 YEARS SINCE ONE OF SPORT’S GREATEST COMEBACKS
In 1999 while wearing the pink jersey of leader of the Giro, Marco Pantani put on a show for the ages from the saddle of his Bianchi MegaPro Concept. Falling foul of a mechanical with 10km to go, Il Pirata was cast 30 seconds adrift from the lead group including all of his rivals for the general classification. Rather than wait for the maglia rosa the contenders forged on – hoping to strike a knockout blow and eliminate the Italian favourite from the race.
Assisted by his teammates of the Mercatone Uno-Bianchi squad, Pantani regained contact with the leaders, before flying past them and forging onto the finish line alone – winning the stage and setting the fastest ever time on the climb to Santuario di Oropa. It was perhaps his greatest performance, but he crossed the line without celebrating – believing there must still be some riders ahead. He knew only afterwards that he had taken the stage as well as saving his race. It was described as ‘La Rimonta del Secolo’, or ‘the comeback of the century’.
To honour the twentieth anniversary of the miracle at Oropa, Bianchi has created a special edition frameset, liveried in the exact same design as the bike ridden by Il Pirata in 1999.
ULTIMATE COMEBACK, ULTIMATE TRIBUTE
The iconic 1999 paint scheme is applied to frame and fork by artisans at Bianchi’s Italian HQ in Treviglio, with a special commemorative logo dedicated to the Santuario di Oropa climb appearing on the shoulder of the fork blade. Even the famous Bianchi eagle badge on the Specialissima’s head tube is a faithful recreation of the one that adorned Pantani’s in 1999.
This lovingly reproduced design is Bianchi’s tribute to Il Pirata’s heroics at Oropa.
Just as Pantani’s MegaPro Concept ridden in the Giro of 1999 by Mercatone Uno-Bianchi team was at the forefront of bicycle design at that age, so is Specialissima today.
The Specialissima Pantani frame is engineered with Bianchi CV system, using Countervail composite material to cancel 80% of the road vibrations. The frameset weighs a mere 780g, making it the ultimate climber’s bike.