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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
August 2, 2014

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Marco Pantani Murdered?

The headline on today's La Gazzetta dello

Ciclismo: "Pantani è stato ucciso, costretto a bere cocaina" [Cycling: Pantani was killed, forced to drink cocaine].

Link to La Gazzetta dello Sport's story

Marco Pantani photo gallery

Marco Pantani was the last rider to win the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in the same year, 1998. In 1999, while cruising to another seemingly effortless dominating Giro win, he was expelled because his hematocrit was higher than the allowed 50 percent. The blow was more than Pantani's fragile mentality could withstand. The most extraordinary climber of his, and perhaps any generation, descended into a cycle of depression and drug use.

He was found dead in a Rimini, Italy, hotel room on February 14, 2004. The autopsy showed Pantani had a cerebral edema and died of heart failure brought on by acute cocaine poisoning.

Pantani's parents Tonina and Paolo never accepted the narrative that their son was a doping cyclist who died because he accidentally took too much cocaine. Convinced that numerous errors were made in the official investigation, they hired their own private investigator, attorney Antonio De Rensis.

The new investigation asserts that Pantani got into an argument with drug dealers who forced him to drink an overdose of a cocaine-water solution which induced the racer's death. Furthermore, the new hypothesis is that because no one came to the room for hours after Pantani died, the death scene was altered.

De Rensis brought his new evidence to the Rimini prosecutor who has found the allegations credible and has reopened the case.

Marco Pantani

Marco Pantani winning stage 19 of the 1998 Giro d'Italia.

I just got this press release from BMC:

BMC Racing Team Signs Alessandro De Marchi

The BMC Racing Team announced Saturday the signing of Alessandro De Marchi, the "most aggressive" rider at this year's Tour de France.

'Goal Is To Work For The Team'
The 28-year-old Italian earned the combativity award of the Tour de France for his part in breakaway moves on Stages 13 and 14 on the way to earning the top prize of the classification Sunday in Paris. De Marchi's other notable accomplishments in four seasons as a professional include winning the king of the mountains classification at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, a fifth-place finish on Stage 17 of this year's Tour and a stage win on the final day of the Dauphiné last year. "Alessandro brings another sharp edge to our team's bag of tools,"

BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. "He is an aggressive rider with multiple skills, but we are especially excited about his skills in the mountains." De Marchi said he looks forward to playing a supporting role for the BMC Racing Team. "My goal is to work for the team," he said. "I know that is my strength and my best quality. Of course, if there are some opportunities, then I will go after them – just as I did this year at the Tour. But my first goal is to work for the captain and the team leader." In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, specific terms of De Marchi's contract were not revealed.

Joaquin /rodriguez and Alessandro de Marchi

Alessandro de Marchi and Joaquin Rodriguez in stage 14 of this year's Tour de France. Photo ©Sirotti

Manuel Bongiorno has extended his contract with Bardiani-CSF for another two years.

Ben Hermans has extended his contract with BMC for another two years.

The UCI has provisionally suspended Tinkoff-Saxo's Roman Kreuziger. Here is the UCI statement released today (August 2):

"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has imposed a provisional suspension with immediate effect on Tinkoff-Saxo’s rider Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic) in connection with the recent assertion of an anti-doping rule violation based on his athlete biological passport. The decision was taken following confirmation received on August 1st, 2014 that Roman Kreuziger intended to participate in the upcoming Tour of Poland and Vuelta a España. At this stage of the procedure, the UCI will not comment any further."

Here is Tinkoff-Saxo's statement on the matter:

"Saturday 2nd of August, Tinkoff-Saxo was informed by Roman Kreuziger about the UCI Anti-doping Commission’s decision to provisionally suspend him, based on their assumption that his future race results are 'likely to be affected by the asserted anti-doping rule violations'. Consequently, Roman Kreuziger will not take part in Tour de Pologne, which begins Sunday, as he will remain suspended from all racing until a verdict has been reached in Roman’s case.
"Tinkoff-Saxo cannot avoid criticizing the timing of this decision – as the rider and team was notified less than 24 hours before the start of WorldTour race Tour de Pologne. The team notes that this materially impairs its participation in this important race and that Kreuziger receives his provisional suspension without solid evidence of any wrong doing but only based on the opinion of medical experts of the UCI Anti-doping Commission."

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