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Italian prosecutors have reopened an investigation into the death of cyclist Marco Pantani after his family presented evidence contending the former Tour de France winner was murdered.

Pantani, who won both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in 1998, was found dead in a Rimini hotel room on Feb. 14, 2004. A coroner ruled the 34-year-old Italian died from a cocaine overdose.

The cyclist's mother, Tonina Pantani, has always claimed her son was murdered, alleging that he was forced to drink a lethal dose of cocaine dissolved in liquid.

"It's an important day, but with a bittersweet taste," Tonina said. "On one side I'm glad, after many years, finally I'm not shouting into the wind anymore. But inside me there's also anger, anger and more anger.

"Why did it take all this time? Why were several things not in their place in 2004 and nobody did anything to give me answers? I'm tired."

Rimini's chief prosecutor, Paolo Giovagnoli, confirmed Pantani's file has been reopened but said it is an "obligatory move" in such matters. He has handed the case to a colleague, Elisa Milocco, who will study the dossier of evidence presented by Pantani's family before returning from holiday in September.


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