The territory around Pantani’s hometown might seem flat. From the Adriatic coast towards the inland areas there are seemingly no changes in altitude, but when you least expect it, the hills emerge majestically one after the other. The climbs here are steep and gruelling, and the first one you come across after the flatlands causes you to slow down abruptly; if you don’t adopt the right rhythm you feel the burn in your calves.
And it’s precisely here, in the eastern part of the Emilia Romagna and Marche regions, that il Pirata trained for his lethal surges: donning the bandana, hands low on the handlebars, determined expression, and shortly after that, the surge. His way of saying to his adversaries, “Follow me, if you’ve got the strength”.
Sea and mountains, different and opposite worlds. Solitude and beauty, nature and open spaces. Sea and mountains.. two worlds consisting of roads and pedals, sweat and bike frames, lone riders in the lead, climbs and descents on two wheels.
Here’s our special selection of lesser-known climbs, where you can relive the Pantani legend.
This mountain is for those who know how to love it, have dreamed of it and decided to climb it not once or twice, but countless times, making it their personal training ground. One of Italy’s best-known climbs, prized by Marco Pantani, who trained here for many of his victories.
Nestled between Pesaro Urbino, Monte Carpegna is a true yet evocative climb: 6 kilometres from Carpegna town (altitude 750 m a.s.l.) with an average gradient of 10%; the last two kilometres are steep, about 12%, and are known as il Cippo.
During the climb you can breathe in the fresh scents of the mountain woodlands, raised on your pedals and accompanied by the numerous roadside tributes to il Pirata and also the steep gradients loved by climbers. From the peak, however, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Republic of San Marino to the sea, Monte Fumaiolo and Monte Aquilone. And lastly, admire the enlarged photo of Marco with the inscription: “This is il Pirata’s sky” and think to yourself.. is the Carpegna enough for me?
Serra di Maiolo
From the Carpegna peak you reach Pennabili via a nose-dive descent. And from the valley, a few kilometres ahead, climb to Serre di Maiolo through San Leo, one of Italy’s most beautiful hamlets, perched on an imposing and almost insurmountable cliff in the Marecchia River valley, which is only accessible by a road excavated from the rock. A short but challenging climb with long stretches at about 10%.
But that’s not enough. To prepare for his deadly surges, il Pirata also headed towards the oldest republic in the world, with the commanding Monte Titano (750 m a.s.l.) above it. In fact, after Carpegna, Serra di Maiolo, Marco climbed towards San Marino via Torello and Acquaviva. Another short climb with a leg-breaking gradient, due to its long stretches at 12% without reprieve.
The last place to experience the il Pirata legend is Spazio Pantani in Cesenatico: a space of 300 square metres entirely dedicated to the Romagna champion, divided into three rooms, each named after one of the mountains that made him famous and loved all over the world: Sala Mortirolo, Sala Alpe d’Huez and Sala Bocchetta.
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