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Officials ponder Coppi exhumation

Judicial authorities in Tortona, Italy, say that they will consult toxicology experts before deciding whether to exhume the body of legendary Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi who died in 1960, the newspaper Corriere dello Sport reported Wednesday. Over the weekend the same newspaper, citing evidence from a Benedictine monk based in Burkina Faso, alleged that Coppi had been murdered with a herbal potion by Africans rather than, as had been previously supposed, dying of malaria in Italy after contracting the illness in the African country. An inquiry by Rome magistrates was immediately launched

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002

Judicial authorities in Tortona, Italy, say that they will consult toxicology experts before deciding whether to exhume the body of legendary Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi who died in 1960, the newspaper Corriere dello Sport reported Wednesday. Over the weekend the same newspaper, citing evidence from a Benedictine monk based in Burkina Faso, alleged that Coppi had been murdered with a herbal potion by Africans rather than, as had been previously supposed, dying of malaria in Italy after contracting the illness in the African country.

An inquiry by Rome magistrates was immediately launched after the paper first aired the allegations and the inquiry has since been transferred to Tortona near Alessandria where Coppi died in 1960.

Tortona’s chief prosecutor Fausto Cardella said before making the decision to exhume specialist advice would be sought.

“The magistrates responsible for the inquest will examine the possibility of exhuming the coffin depending on the advice received from specialist advisers to the Tortona bureau,” said Cardella.

“Our legal doctors and toxicologists will advise us whether it would be possible to detect poison 42 years after the event.”

Specialists from the Universities of Milan and Pavia will conduct the tests.

Magistrates Elisabetta Pagliai and Sara D’Addea, delegated by Cardella, are in charge of the case and have already seized the medical records of the rider during his brief stay at Tortona’s Santi Antonio e Margherita Hospital. Coppi died there on January 2, 1960, just 19 hours after had checked in seeking treatment.

Copyright AFP2002