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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Monday, December 1, 2014

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Let Marco Pantani Rest in Peace

I think the French sports daily l'Equipe summed things up perfectly with this headline today: Marco Pantani, the case never ends (L'affaire Marco Pantani n'en finit plus). The l'Equipe story is about the Rimini police officers who investigated Pantani's 2004 cocaine overdose death. With speculation rampant in the Italian press (to no small degree fed by Pantani's family) about Pantani's possibly having been murdered through a cocaine overdose, the police officers who investigated Pantani's death are standing by their conclusion that the Italian racer killed himself with a cocaine overdose. Furthermore, they have said they will take legal action against any defamation, their lawyers saying that it, "no longer seems possible to remain silent and above all to continue to tolerate a media lynching that is growing to unbearable proportions".

The interesting backdrop to this is a new book out by Italian regional journalist Andrea Rossini: The Pantani Crime, The Final Kilometer (Secrets and Lies).

Pantani  book cover

Going against the Italian speculative tide, Rossini sets out to show that Pantani, deeply troubled after being tossed from the 1999 Giro because his hematocrit was too high, took to cocaine and that Pantani's death was simply the result of a self-induced drug overdose. Pantani's parents and a host of Italian journalists have fed the speculative wave that Pantani was murdered by being forced to take the cocaine overdose. Applying Occam's Razor (which says that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected), the self-inflicted overdose makes the most sense to me.

Matt Rendell, who wrote the best book I have read about Pantani (The Death of Marco Pantani), is going to translate Rossini's book into English. I'll post a note on these news pages when the English-language version of the book is available.

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