Police in Forli claim the Camorra mafia corrupted UCI doctors in order to change Marco Pantani's haematocrit levels and get him ejected from the Giro d'Italia

Italian police believe the Naples mafia was behind Marco Pantani’s exclusion from the 1999 Giro d’Italia as part of a betting scam.

Police in Forli say that Pantani’s blood haematocrit was changed in order to disqualify him from the race to avoid the Mafia having to pay out on illegal bets on his victory.

Pantani’s haematocrit was recorded at 51.9 per cent – far higher than the UCI’s limit of 50 per cent, resulting in him being withdrawn during the final week of the race.

>>> Marco Pantani murder theory lives on in Italian courts

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, former Camorra mafia member Renato Vallanzasca testified that he had been advised to bet on one of Pantani’s rivals for the overall title before Pantani was withdrawn, despite the Italian leading the race by over five minutes.

“Believe me, Pantani will not reach the final stage in Milan,” a member of the Camorra is reported to have said to Vallanzasca.

The police report claims that UCI doctors were corrupted to raise Pantani’s haematocrit levels using deplasmation.

>>> Pantani’s bikes on display at Wilier

One of the heads of the Naples Camorra, Augusto La Torre, reportedly testified: “I spoke to several other bosses and they told me there was a risk of going bankrupt and losing several million if Pantani won the Giro, just as happened with Maradona and the Napoli football team in the eighties.

“I can say that the clan contacted the people who did the control and corrupted them. I absolutely exclude that they were threatened, it was just corruption.”

Despite the new evidence, presented in a 30-page report, Forli police also said the case should be archived due to the statute of limitations meaning charges cannot be brought.

  • David Kerry

    The only nutcase is riding round Thailand on his cheap copies stuck in his ways ..

  • ian franklin

    Nutcase.

  • David Kerry

    Thank you old man. Now go and enjoy the scenery in Thailand on your cheap Chinese imports .

  • ian franklin

    Your wisdom. insight, knowledge and intelligence is beyond reproach.

  • David Kerry

    Oh come on old man.. You were sold cheap Chinese **** in Thailand.. You should come back to England instead of living with those people.. Condor and Planet X ???? Wtf

  • ian franklin

    Is this a wind up? Copies? Direct from Dave Loughran at Planet X. Condor: Direct from London, Sebastian Young. You are an extremely damaged person. All you can do is insult. But what you cannot do is provide evidence for all your lies …. so I shall give you same advice. F O

  • David Kerry

    Like I said Franklin old chap an old man stuck in old fashioned ways.. You should be riding a trek, colnago. Specialised or da rosa.. Not the old stuff you buy in Thailand probably cheap copies .. You’re never set an example riding tack like that

  • ian franklin

    Totally agree with you. Until you give me the evidence of bribery and bets then I have nothing to go on. And indeed I have asked you time and again for the evidence or the source but you keep coming to the conclusion that asking for evidence is the same as denying that bribery and bets take place. I have no idea whether bribery and bets take place simply because I have seen no evidence or reference to this elsewhere. Does the fact that I am asking for evidence prove that I am stuck in my ways and deny that these things happen? Or does it suggest that I am interested in this topic and would like to be educated further? (Incidentally, do you think that Dimar, Planet X and Condors are old fashioned? The Planet x is less than a year old and the Condor is the all carbon Leggero. Could you advise me on what bike I should be riding in order to avoid your insults?)

  • David Kerry

    Like I said you seem to think there’s no evidence of bribery and bets.. Stuck in your old fashioned ways on your old fashioned bike riding round Thailand

  • ian franklin

    Please enlighten me Kerry … I have no idea what you are on about. It seems very strange to attack me in this way simply because I asked for evidence of one thing: ‘bribery and bets have got larger’ according to Bairstow and I simply asked for evidence. Drugs were not mentioned.

  • David Kerry

    Ha ha mr Franklin you really don’t believe riders took drugs and won doped up do you.. You really think everything to come out of cycling the last 15/20 years isn’t true.. Stuck in your ways and not wanting to believe ..

  • ian franklin

    ??????????????????? Something wrong Kerry? You enjoy being offensive?

  • David Kerry

    Ian Franklin .. Do you really thing it’s all as nice and squeaky clean .. Did you think the same before Armstrongs miracle 7 wins.. Did you suspect he was nice and clean.. What about operation purico.. Did you still think everything was nice and clean!! Stuck in your ways like I said!!

  • Andy

    Well, if there is any truth the Mafia were involved in the betting, then anything is possible about the circumstances of his death. Sad – now we’ll never really know. RIP.

  • David Kerry

    Ian Franklin ..the bets and the bribes probably have got bigger.. It’s still a messed up sport unfortunately it’s not all clean and proper .. You obviously are an old man stuck in your ways

  • ummm…

    Also, please give me specific critiques about specific quotes. I’m willing to defend all of them.

  • ummm…

    yeah im immature because I call into question a fantastical story from two decades ago. I was born before 1984 dvmb dvmb. So, since you can’t judge the year I was born are we also to question your judgement here? I bet you would be willing to swear in court that he was forced to stuff coke up his nose? How is such a dubious story (which may or may not be true who knows) grounds to call ME into question? Can I ride a bike? What sort of ridiculous question is that. Really lame ad hominem. Do better.

  • ian franklin

    Thank you for that piece of information (or opinion?) Andrew. I’d like us to follow that up with the facts and figures. Evidence would be quite useful in order to take this discussion forward. Thanks for your help.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    And things have not changed except the bets and the bribes have got bigger.

  • Stevo

    You presumably hadn’t yet been born in 1999, judging by the maturity of your posts, so what would you know about it? Can you even ride a bike?

  • ummm…

    …..this guys credibility is dead; 15 – 20 years later? cmon.

  • The Awakening

    Truly a web of deceit and lies, with many twists and turns.

    I C&P the following from an article written on road.cc, by Simon MacMichael, titled ‘Conspiracy theory over Marco Pantani’s final days turned into a graphic novel’

    “Called Gli Ultimi Giorni di Marco Pantani [The Last Days of Marco Pantani], the 104-page book is published by Rizzoli-Lizard and costs €16. Scripted by Marco Rizzo and drawn by Lelio Bonaccorso, and explores the rather fanciful conspiracy theory put forward by French journalist Philippe Brunel, a friend of Pantani, in his 2007 book Vie et Mort de Marco Pantani [Life and Death of Marco Pantani] that the cyclist may have been murdered.”

    Sadness, is the one word that epitomises the circumstances, surrounding the final days, of Marco Pantani.

  • Chris Williams

    Reading his book it was this incident that finally drove him to his end (by his own hands or not) so basically they finished him 🙁

  • David Kerry

    I’m not surprised at all by this story.. Drugs . Cheating. Illegal bets. Doped up riders. It was all messed up more than we will ever know ..