Marco Pantani, the “Pirate” with the rustiest blood in the peloton is now involved in three legal cases involving doping after his haemocrit and blood iron levels were found to be over the limit again prior to this years Olympics.
High blood haemocrit levels are currently regarded as proof of the use of performance boosting drug EPO. Marco Pantani is already fighting an appeal after being convicted of ‘drug use and sporting fraud’ during the 1995 season, and a preliminary investigation is being carried out into the high haemocrit levels that saw him expelled from the 1999 Giro D’Italia.
His manager claims the seizure of medical testing files, and the re-opening of the original contested ‘Milan-Turin’ case after previously “lost” medical files have come to light are just “routine assessments”. With his first race of the season due to start tommorrow though, it looks like his lawyers will be having a more lucrative year than he might.