MATT RENDELL survived Hodgkin's Disease and lectured at British and Latvian universities before entering TV and print journalism. He is the author of A SIGNIFICANT OTHER (W&N, 2004), a top ten sports book and KINGS OF THE MOUNTAINS (Aurum, 2002). He has written for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, including British coverage of the Tour de France. The National Sporting Club named Matt Rendell BEST NEW SPORTS WRITER 2003.
[Rendell's] not inconsiderable acheivement is to convey the sordid reality of the Tour while simultaneously adding to one's yearning for its lost idealism - THE TIMESSuperficially [Pantani] appears to be a familiar type of sporting self-destructor. Like George Best, Diego Maradona, Alex "Hurricane" Higgins, and so on, he was prodigiously gifted; like them, he couldn't handle success and its aftermath. But, if Rendell is right (and the evidence does seem conclusive), unlike them, he was a pharmaceutical creation almost from the beginning. He was "cycling's greatest cheat" . . . It is the pursuit of this revelation that makes the . . . book so readable - NEW STATESMANAn excellent book about the life and death of il Pirata, the Pirate, as Pantani was known. Rendell has interviewed dozens of those closest to Pantani to paint an intimate and sympathetic - if unsentimental - picture . . . this is also a work of meticulous investigative journalism that shatters whatever doubts anyone could still have about systematic doping in cycling - OBSERVER SPORTS MONTHLYAn account of a journey into the depths of drugs in sport (and drugs in life) becomes a parable of modern sport and celebrity - SUNDAY TIMES