On the 11th anniversary of the death of Marco Pantani, the Gazzetta dello Sport sports newspaper has suggested that former Giro d'Italia and Tour de France winner died due to the toxic combination of a large dose of cocaine and his anti-depressant medication.
During the summer Gazzetta dello Sport suggested that Pantani could have been murdered and openly supported the private investigation funded by Pantani's parents and aggressively pursued by their lawyer Antonio De Rensis. This lead to the Rimini police opening a new investigation and the ordering of a review of the autopsy carried out on Pantani's body after his death in 2004.
The murder theory was debunked by Italian journalist Andrea Rossini in his his book 'The Pantani Crime The Last Kilometre (Secrets and Lies)' and police in Rimini are expected to recommend the closing of the investigation after Professor Franco Tagliaro submits his final report and toxicological findings before the end of February.
The Italian sports newspaper suggests that Tagliaro points out that the toxic mix of cocaine and anti-depressives was underestimated in 2004, despite evidence in the toxicological analysis carried out at the time.
Pantani family expected to fight on for further investigations
Professor Tagliaro is expected to submit his final report before the end of February. However Gazzetta dello Sport suggests the Pantani family will continue to fight for further investigations if the Rimini police opt to close their investigation. A further investigation could be sparked by the decision of a investigative judge and moved to Bologna. De Rensis has raised doubt about a ball of cocaine found near Pantani's body.
Pantani was found dead in a hotel room in Rimini on the evening of St. Valentine's Day in 2004 after apparently consuming a huge dose of cocaine. He had fled from Milan a few days before while his parents were on holiday.
Pantani's family attended a ceremony in nearby Cesena on Saturday for the official opening of the Giardino Marco Pantani, a children's park named in memory of Pantani. The official presentation of the Pantani Foundation team was held in the Pantani museum in Cesenatico, followed by a memorial mass in the San Giacomo church, where Pantani's funeral was held in 2004.