Family's version of death of Tour de France and Giro d'Italia champion rejected by country's highest court...

Italy’s supreme court has ruled that Marco Pantini was not murdered, bringing an end to his parents’ long-running legal battle to try and establish that his death had been at the hands of others.

Pantani, who in 1998 was the last man to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same season, died in a hotel room at the age of 34 in Rimini on St Valentine’s Day 2004.

His parents claimed that persons unknown had forced him to take a lethal dose of cocaine, but a judge in Rimini last year ruled that his death was not due to murder but rather suicide or accidental overdose.

> Judge says Marco Pantani “wasn’t murdered” as investigation closed

They appealed to Italy’s highest court La Corte di Cassazione in Rome, which has now upheld the lower court’s finding that foul play was not involved, although the full reasons for the decision have not yet been published, reports Il Resto del Carlino.

Italy’s chief state prosecutor, Paolo Giovagnoli, requesting the supreme court to archive the case for once and for all, said there was not a shred of evidence to suggest that foul play had been involved in Pantani’s death.

He spoke of the thoroughness of the investigation into Pantani’s death, with police managing to track down and bring to justice the dealer who had sold the ex-cyclist the fatal dose of cocaine, and accused his family of wanting to re-write history and deny the truth.

The court agreed, and besides having now exhausted all avenues of appeal, Pantani’s family will also have to bear the legal costs of the case.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.