Mother says 'Marco was murdered'

arco Pantani's mother offers her own explanation for her son's death in February 2004, claiming he

arco Pantani's mother offers her own explanation for her son's death in February 2004, claiming he

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The mother of Marco Pantani, who was found dead in a Rimini hotel room in February 2004, has claimed that her son was murdered and did not die as a consequence of drug overdose, as has been officially recorded.

Speaking to the La Voce di Romagna newspaper, Tonina Pantani said: "Marco was murdered, I am increasingly convinced of it. He could not have died in the way that they said he did, falling out of bed. The position in which his body was found was not natural. Also, there is no way you can destroy a bedroom without getting a single scratch on your hands."

The claim coincides with the central theory of a book written by L'Equipe journalist Philippe Brunel that is due for publication. Pantani's mother backs up her claims by saying that her son was found with scratches on his face.

"The day before his death, Marco went to a perfume shop to buy a type of cream that is used to cover up scratches. Why did nobody ask why he had done this?" she wondered. "There were two small triangles on his jugular vein, as if someone had been pressing with their fingers on that point.

"Nothing was said about the cap he always had with him and was never found. His socks also disappeared from the room, I don't think this is a coincidence."

Signora Pantani has her own explanation for what happened on the night of February 13/14 2004. "I think this is more or less what happened: he was lying down, someone came in behind him, grabbed him by the neck and put cocaine in his mouth. Marco died like that."

She also lamented the theft of sentimental objects from her son's grave. "I go there every day, clean the grave, put flowers on it and collect the offerings left, but unfortunately there are some bad people who won't stop at anything. There have been thefts from the grave, sometimes of objects that have huge personal significance. These really upset me because they show a total lack of respect towards Marco. The last one really got to me, it was of a rosary with blue pearls."

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