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Italian police open new investigation into Marco Pantani's death

Marco Pantani wins in the Maglia rosa
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Police in Italy have opened a new murder inquiry into the death of Marco Pantani after doubts arose about the final hours of his life via a new document of evidence submitted by his mother Tonina.

Secret evidence given by the drug dealer who sold Pantani his last dose of cocaine to a parliamentary committee has also muddied the waters and led to Tonina Pantani pushing once again for a further investigation.

Tonina, who has never accepted her son died of a deadly cocktail of cocaine and anti-depression medicines, has recently hired new lawyers, spoken to police in Rimini, and given them a 51-page dossier with information on her son’s final days in Rimini in 2004.

“I went over the whole story. I was – and I remain – convinced that the whole truth about Marco’s death has not yet come out, about what happened at the hotel in the hours and days before his death,” Pantani’s mother told the Quotidiano Nazionale news network.

Pantani, the last rider to win both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in the same year in 1998. He was then disqualified from the 1999 Giro d’Italia after being found with a high blood haematocrit. He died on February 14, 2004. An initial police investigation led to several sentences for drug dealing and the consequential death of Pantani. A second investigation was opened in 2014 but closed with the conclusion that new suspicions raised by Pantani’s family were based on "creative conjecture." 

However, his mother’s refusal to accept that her son died of a cocaine overdose and the willingness of the Italian media to fuel Pantani’s mythical status by reporting but not investigating the conspiracy theories have made it more difficult than ever to understand ‘il Pirata’s tragic death.

Italian police have now opened a third murder investigation and begun to study the dossier provide by Tonina Pantani, look back at the evidence of the previous two investigations and study the secret evidence given to the Italian parliamentary investigation by drug dealer Fabio Miradossa. He has so far failed to back up claims that Pantani was murdered, but told Tonina Pantani during a television programme to follow the €20,000 that allegedly disappeared from his room in the Le Rose residency in Rimini.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the investigation was about to be closed until Tonina Pantani and her new lawyers provided the 51-page dossier.

The Italian sports newspaper again highlights doubts about the ball of cocaine found next to Pantani’s body, injuries found on his arms and face that are said not to be linked to a fall and other doubts about the original investigation.

La Gazzetta dello Sport also claimed that Pantani spent the evening of February 13 in a different hotel, with other people, raising further questions about the final hours of his life.

“Tonina wants to investigate one last time if her son died of a mix of cocaine and antidepressants or if there were other reasons,” new lawyer Fiorenzo Alessi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The goal is to put their hearts at rest and hear the final word, in one way or another, about Pantani’s death. We know it’s hard that something new emerges after so many years but the police are investigating and we’re sure they’ll do scrupulously. Whatever the verdict, we’ll accept it.”

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