Was Marco Pantani murdered or did he die of a self-inflicted cocaine overdose?
These are the questions Pantani’s family and the public prosecutor of Rimini want answered again.
According to the 1998 Tour de France winner’s family Pantani was beaten by a group of men, forced to drink cocaine diluted in water and then left for dead.
A previous case in 2005 ruled that Pantani had died of a cocaine overdose but according to reports the family lawyer has presented fresh evidence and documents supporting flaws in the initial police investigation.
Among the documents given to the prosecutor, some point out that investigators never analysed the water bottle found and never took fingerprints from the room.
Speaking over the telephone the Pantani family lawyer, Antonio De Rensis, says: ‘‘It was very hard work. To open a new case is never easy, and having reopened this investigation, although the beginning of a journey, is an element that gives us strength to continue the search for truth. The prosecutor is young, but very serious. We have great confidence.’‘
Pantani cemented his place as a sporting great in ’98, winning both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in the same year.
But allegations of doping during his career as well as a cocaine habit dogged his latter years.
He was found dead on February 14, 2004, in Rimini’s Le Rose hotel on Italy’s eastern coast aged 34.
In 2005 three men were found guilty of supplying the cocaine that killed Italy’s cycling hero.