Marco Pantani: Italian prosecutors reopen investigation

Tour de France winner Marco Pantani during the Tour de France in 1998 Pantani won both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in 1998

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Prosecutors in Italy have reopened an inquiry into the death of cyclist Marco Pantani after his family presented what it says is evidence he was murdered.

Pantani, who won the 1998 Tour de France, was ruled to have died of a cocaine overdose after being found dead in his room on Valentine's Day 2004.

The Italian's mother believes her son, who was 34 when he died, was murdered.

Tonina Pantani alleges he was beaten and forced to drink a lethal dose of cocaine dissolved in liquid.

"We have just received documents sent by those close to [Pantani] and we have opened an investigation," said Paolo Giovagnoli, the public prosecutor in Rimini, where Pantani's body was found.

"We will read them and if we decide to proceed with a new investigation, we will appoint an examining magistrate to do so."

In the year of his victory in the Tour de France, Pantani also won the Giro d'Italia.

Mrs Pantani told la Repubblica newspaper: "I will never stop until I see the truth written about Marco..."

Without elaborating on a possible motive, she added: "My feeling from the very beginning was that he had discovered something and somebody shut his mouth."

The Pantani family says the marks found on Marco Pantani's body show he had been beaten, and the high amount of cocaine found in his system suggested he had swallowed the drug, which it claims is something he would not have done willingly.

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