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Marco Pantani's mother: "I'll keep searching for the truth"

Mamma Tonino speaks at book launch in Macerata as investigation into cyclist's death continues...

The mother of Marco Pantani insists that she will not stop until she finds out the truth about her son’s death in a Rimini hotel on Valentine’s Day 2004. Her comments come as a murder inquiry continues into the death of the man who in 1998 became the last rider to complete the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double.

Tonina Pantani was speaking at the Overtime Festival in Macerata about her book In Nome di Marco – which translates in English as In the Name of Marco – together with the journalist Francesco Ceniti, who worked with her on the project.

“I won’t stop,” she said. “I’ll keep searching for the truth, and I’m not doing it for my son – I’m doing it for all the young people who identify themselves with the values of cycling,” reports Marche regional newspaper, Il Resto del Carlino.

“For too long,” she added, “Marco has been presented on TV as ‘Italy’s biggest doper.’ He wasn’t at peace with himself. He was robbed.”

Presumably referring to when, as a result of a haematocrit count above the UCI’s permitted level of 50 per cent, he was thrown off the Giro d’Italia at Madonna di Campiglio in 1999 when poised to win the race, she said: “I’ve personally researched the tests he underwent and it’s clear that the [levels of] platelets had risen that morning, because in the afternoon they were down again.

“My son spent four years and 1.5 million euro to try and understand who framed him,” she went on. “He didn’t manage it before they did away with him.”

Ceniti recalled journalist Gianni Mura’s description of Pantani as being like an ermine – “an animal that has pure white fur. He [Pantani] instead of letting himself be seen with a stain against him, preferred to die. Because for Marco, giving up racing a bike was the same as dying.”

Meanwhile, an inquiry into the cyclist’s death continues. Officially, Pantani died of acute cocaine poisoning, but an investigation that opened in August is pursuing the theory that he may have been killed.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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cat1commuter | 9 years ago

I'm willing to accept that Pantani was a victim, but he was a victim of his coaching system since he was a junior, and Francesco Conconi at the Biomedical Research Centre at Ferrara University. He was a doper. Your haematocrit doesn't go from 45% to 60% naturally! He was also introverted and sensitive. Quite the opposite character to Armstrong.

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