News shorts: New questions about Pantani's death

Germany critical of Guadeloupe track, Stultiens signs for Giant-Alpecin

New evidence adds further questions about Pantani's death

The new investigation into the death of Marco Pantani is underway in Italy, with new evidence and the questioning of key witnesses and friends fueling further doubts and speculations about whether the former rider died of a cocaine overdose or if he was murdered.

On Monday several Italian media reported new evidence that suggested Pantani's body may have been moved by someone after his death, perhaps after he was forced to drink huge dose of cocaine. The formal autopsy claimed that Pantani died around lunch time on February 14 2014. However according to a private investigator hired by the Pantani family, a Rolex watch on Pantani's wrist stopped at 5:05pm, perhaps after hitting the ground as Pantani's body was moved. A fax with a initial estimated time of death of 5:00pm has also been uncovered, raising further doubts about when and how Pantani died.

Pantani's family has always dismissed the idea that their son committed suicide by taking a huge cocaine overdose and has financed a detailed private investigation into what happened ten years ago. Doubts about Pantani's final days while staying in a small hotel in Rimini and questions concerning the autopsies and initial police investigation forced Italian police to open a new investigation this summer.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Francesco Ceniti, who recently wrote a new book on Pantani's death with Pantani's mother Tonina, close friend Michael Mengozzi and Dr Giovanni Greco have already been questioned by police looking for new evidence, with Pantani's former manager Manuela Ronchi next in line for questioning.

Germany critical of Guadeloupe track

German track coaches Detlef Uibel and Sven Meyer have criticised the track in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe, two days before the European Track championships are set to begin. It is the first time since the European championships began in 2010 that the event will take place in an overseas territory. The French territory, situated in the Caribbean, will play host to three days of racing beginning on Friday 16th.

“I cannot believe that they would hold a track cycling championships here,” said Uibel. “The weather is extreme. With temperatures over 30 degrees and the humidity, it makes every step difficult. There are few places for shade. The first training session was extreme.”

Fellow coach Meyer was equally as scathing about the track its self. “It is a huge joke here,” he said. Meyer went on to say that while the half-open wooden track for the World Cup round in Cali was ‘border line,’ "this is very far below the international standard.”

Morabito signs for FDJ.fr

Steve Morabito has signed a two-year deal with FDJ.fr, according to Ouest France. The Swiss rider joins from BMC, where he spent five years riding in the service of Cadel Evans.

A strong climber, Morabito will bolster the supporting cast that team manager Marc Madiot is building around Thibaut Pinot, who finished in third place at this year’s Tour de France.

Morabito turned professional in 2006 with Phonak and then spent three seasons at Astana before re-joining Andy Rihs’ set-up at BMC in 2010. He was part of the BMC team that helped Evans to Tour victory the following year. In 2014, Morabito placed 6th overall at the Tour de Suisse and performed strongly at the Giro d’Italia in support of Evans.

Stultiens joins Giant-Alpecin

Under 23 European road race champion Sabrina Stultiens will join Giant-Shimano after the current cyclo-cross season ends next March. Stultiens has ridden for Rabo-Liv since turning professional in 2013 and competed in her first World Road Championships in September.

"I am really looking forward to racing for Team Giant-Alpecin next year," Stultiens said in a team press release. "I have had a few good years with Rabo-Liv but I've decided to move on and to go for another adventure where I see the opportunity to develop myself further as a person and a rider. The vision of the team, with young riders, and putting development first is really important for me.”

Modolo caps off year with victory

Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) finished off the season with his season WorldTour victory of the season. The Italian edged out Lotto-Belisol’s Greg Henderson by the slimmest of margins to seal his eighth win this year.

“It’s so good to end the season winning the last race,” said Modolo after the stage. “My teammates and me tried hard to obtain this success and so it’s even more satisfying having got it. After the victory in Tour de Suisse, I lived a bad period mainly because some health problems, but with the help and the support by the team I could hang in. I’m happy to have given to the team and to the sponsors a good morning.”
 

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