Marco Pantani’s mother claims her son may have been killed, wants new inquest
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Marco Pantani’s mother claims her son may have been killed, wants new inquest

by VeloNation Press at 6:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
“In my opinion, Marco had ruffled someone's feathers”

Marco PantaniNine and a half years after his tragic death from a cocaine overdose, the mother of 1998 Tour de France winner Marco Pantani has repeated her claims that her son may have been murdered and has called for a new inquest.

Tonina Pantani told the Mattino Cinque television programme that after studying court documents, she believes that there are grounds to question the official version of events about his passing.

“I've asked for the re-opening of the investigation because I want explanations, I want answers. I want to know how he died,” she said, according to AFP. “My biggest concern is that he may have been killed. In my opinion, Marco had ruffled someone's feathers.”

She suggested that he may have been killed by people who were trying to stop him exposing the extent of performance enhancing drugs in the peloton. “He spoke his mind and talked about doping, that doping was a big problem,” she said.

Pantani won the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in 1998, being the last rider to achieve that double. His career hit a turning point the following year, though, when he was ejected from the Giro while looking certain to win. A pre-race check on his haematocrit level revealed that he was over the maximum 50% threshold and he was disqualified from the event.

While he could have returned to competition a fortnight later and defended his Tour de France title, he instead lurched from personal crisis to personal crisis, becoming addicted to cocaine.

He competed sporadically in the following years, winning two stages in the 2000 Tour de France, but never reached the same heights again.

He was found dead on Valentine’s day 2004, having passed away in the La Rose hotel in Rimini. The autopsy ruled that he had a cerebral edema and heart failure due to acute cocaine poisoning.

However his mother claims that the court documents she has viewed contain false allegations. “I've seen the court documents and there are things written in there which are just not true,” she said.

She also challenges the conclusion that he was alone, and suspects foul play. “Marco wasn't alone in the Rimini residence where he was found dead: there could have been other people with him,” she claims. “He called the police, complaining of people who were bothering him and an hour later he was found dead.”

According to people who interacted with him in his final days, Pantani was showing increasing signs of paranoia. Authorities will likely take this into account when assessing the latter claim.

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