Marco Pantani documentary planned for pre 2013 Tour de France release

The life of Marco Pantani, the controversial Italian and the last rider to win the Tour of Italy and Tour de France in the same year, will be the subject of the documentary film schedule to debut prior to the 100th Tour de France in 2013.

Nearly a decade since Pantani’s death in an Italian hotel room, the film “The Accidental Death of a Cyclist” will feature race archives, contemporary news footage, interviews with those who knew Pantani and also stylized dramatic reconstructions.

Pantani, a climbing specialist, claimed Tour/Giro double in 1998. He returned from suffered from cocaine and depression to win two stages of the 2000 Tour de France including epic battles with Lance Armstrong.

But Pantani’s career and life quickly deflated. He died alone in a hotel room of a cocaine overdose on Feb. 14, 2004.

The film will trace those key moments in a collaboration between the director James Erskine and London’s New Black Films. They worked together on the documentaries “One Night in Turin,” featuring former British soccer player Paul Gascoigne, and the cricket-based “From the Ashes.”

“This is not just a film about cycling, but a psychological exploration of what drives athletes to compete; the masochistic pursuit of victory, to the point of self-destruction,” said Erskine, according to Variety.

Erskine will join Victoria Gregory, producer of “Man on a Wire” and one of the producers “Senna,” the recent film about Brazilian Formula 1 world titlist Aryton Senna.

The film will be released in the United Kingdom next May and then have worldwide distribution.

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