Fifteen years after the death of Marco Pantani, his mother Tonina has again called for the investigation into his death to be reopened after suggestions that Pantani may have died after being forced to drink water containing a huge quantity of cocaine rather than via a self-administered overdose.
Pantani died on February 14, 2004, after barricading himself in a hotel room in Rimini under the effects of cocaine and anti-depressants. The winner of the 1998 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France suffered greatly with substance abuse and mental health-related problems following his disqualification from the 1999 Giro d’Italia due to a high blood haematocrit.
Pantani’s mother has always defended her son’s honour while admitting that he may have used blood-boosting EPO during his career. Tonina hired high-profile Italian lawyer Antonio De Rensis to investigate all the circumstances of Pantani’s death and managed to spark a new investigation in 2014 that was fuelled by media reports in Italy that played on the heartstrings of Pantani’s enduring popularity among the tifosi.
Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation dismissed a final appeal in September 2017, but that has not deterred Tonina Pantani.
“I knew my son very well. Right from the start, I said: ‘They’ve killed him,'” Tonina told La Gazzetta dello Sport, as Italy again prepared to mourn the loss of one of its biggest sporting heroes.
“I’m more convinced about it than ever before. My battle for the truth continues and I hope they reopen the investigation.”
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