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Marco Pantani was not beaten before his death. The wounds to his face and other parts of his body were superficial and were not caused by assailants.
The finding may not signal the definitive conclusion to the new investigation into his death, but it is certainly a major step towards it. The source? Professor Franco Tagliaro, the consultant asked by the court to provide a scientific response to the queries raised by the lawyer Antonio de Rensis on behalf of the Pantani family.
Tagliaro reported his preliminary findings regarding the injuries in an email to the Chief Public Prosecutor Paolo Gengarelli. Tagliaro has another forty days to complete his toxicological examinations.
His conclusions regarding the injuries are perfectly in line with the findings of the original autopsy carried out by Professor Giuseppe Fortuni, which ruled out categorically the hypothesis of any kind of struggle.
There were no deep traumas, no internal haemorrhage or corresponding osteal injuries (the septum in the nose was intact). For Fortuni, nothing anomalous emerged from palpation of the cervical spine (neck) or iliac crests.
In turn, Tagliaro has ruled out any possibility of a fight due to the absence of hand injuries characteristic of active defence, and injuries to the arms characteristic of passive defence.
In recent months the Pantani family lawyer De Rensis and others had claimed that Pantani did not overdose, but rather was overpowered by unknown attackers and forced to drink a lethal mixture of cocaine and water. Under those claims, this rather than any overdose was the cause of his death.
However, Tagliaro’s findings are a serious blow to this argument. Excluding any kind of physical attack, the theory of forced cocaine poisoning is left in tatters.
The news is vindication for the Italian author and journalist Andrea Rossini, who this evening will launch the book “Delitto Pantani. Ultimo chilometro (segreti e bugie) [Pantani Crime: Last kilometre (secrets and lies)]” in the Teatro degli Atti in Rimini.
Pantani’s mother Tonina and De Rensis will both be present.