Today is the anniversary of the death of Marco Pantani.
I've pretty much had a bike as long as I can remember, but it was Pantani who got me interested in professional cycling. Also in the last few years I've read quite a few biographies of some of the most successful cyclists of all time - have just finished a book about Fausto Coppi, in fact - and in fact when you look just at the Palmarès there are many cyclists who ultimately were more successful. But for sheer charisma there is nobody to touch him in my book.
And I was lucky enough to see him race in real life, winning the Tour de France on the Champs Elysees in 1998.