Would Pantani have inspired anyone at all were it not for his dope-fueled racing? The Giro will truly be honoring PEDs in 2014.
And spare me the "victim" BS. Should Michael Jackson be remembered as the victimized King of Pop? Or as a child molesting weirdo? I vote for the latter. You're accountable for your actions, no matter the circumstance; hardly a super-human standard of morals.
Michael Jackson broke sales records in dozens of markets across the world. He was also never formally convicted of child molestation even for how weird his antics were. He was also the first African American pop star to transcend genres and boundaries. People love to rattle on him and Whitney Houston, but praise Johnny Cash- a bonafide racist, alcholic, drug user who had many of the same problems.
Anyways, yes, Pantani would've probably been good had he not doped. Even in races as a junior he was capable of pretty incredible climbing feats. So many people here sit on the sidelines but don't bother to remember that most professional athletes are young, immature, impressionable, and naive and more often than not make some sort of sportsmanship, financial, criminal, or rules-based mistake early in their career. The prevalence of steroid use in high school football and baseball as well as in the NCAA is a testament to this fact. So are all the players that manage to blow through millions of dollars doing whatever heap of stupid shit they end up doing. My examples are really limited to my own country but I'm sure there are similarities in European Football, Rugby, Cricket, and whatever other sports people in the rest of the world watch.
With that said to even get to the level where you're a doped up pro means you need some talent. As we now know from many pro testimonies you can dope and actually not be good or fast. This is why Tom Danielson never big ringed up the Hautacam or Levi never won a GT. The greats all had a specific base level of talent before they used.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate