Marco Pantani continues to be an interesting and divisive figure after his death. But now, it's for a very different reason. Perhaps you've heard mentions about the ongoing attempt by some to prove that Pantani was killed, rather than having died alone in a room due to self-inflicted damage through drug use.
In a newly published e-book (translated into English by Matt Rendell), investigative reporter Andrea Rossini (who has been writing about, and studying the case from the day it happened) takes a detailed look at the entire case, as well as debunking the murder theory itself through new evidence.
What follows is a short excerpt of the book, part of a Q&A between Rendell and Rossini.
Why were Pantani’s calls for help undervalued at the hotel reception?
On the morning of his death, Pantani called down to reception complaining that someone was making a noise. The receptionist and the cleaner both went upstairs, but were unable to unravel the mystery. A few minutes later, Pantani called down again. He could still hear noises, he said. Then, twice, he asked the receptionist to call the Carabinieri. Why did his requests go unheeded?
Pantani complained about strangers whom neither the receptionists nor the maid had seen enter, and heard voices that no one else could hear (even after listening from the next room). The picture is entirely consistent with perception altered by cocaine abuse. The brief messages, unclear and incomprehensible, can only be interpreted as one more sign of the abnormality or confusion seen in previous hours by the hotel guests who had encountered him. One of them, in Spanish, had described him as loco - mad. In the final call, to the question “Could I do anything for him?” - this is from the receptionist’s statement to the police - “he replied, in a gentle tone of voice, that, if I wanted, I could call the Carabinieri, otherwise, it was all the same.”
Receptionist (Lucia D.) - My first instinct was to ask why, what was happening, and when he didn’t explain or, at least, when he said, no, don’t worry about it, forget it, I was more confused than anything else, I didn’t know what I could do, because I didn’t know, at that precise moment, if that was what he really wanted… To tell the truth, I was confused.
It was, after all, Pantani. A possibly misjudged sense of reserve prevailed. The hotel owner advised her to take her time and not to bother their famous guest:
Owner (Sandrino D.) - I didn’t tell her to call the Carabinieri because I was thinking of the identity of the guest. They had described Pantani as closed, distant. I thought he might have problems, and I thought we should leave him in peace.
“When you say Someone’s making a noise” - observed judge Carlo Masini during the trial - you are not asking for help.” In any case, the hotel room telephone was an outside line which Pantani had used before. There was a list of emergency numbers beside the handset. If he had been in real danger, Pantani could have called the Carabinieri himself.
Either way, it is hard to understand why the phantasmal killers, having gained access to the room, and preparing to forcibly drug Pantani to death, would have allowed him, between 10.30 and 10.55 a.m., to make two calls down to reception, and then take an incoming call.