By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002
Italian cyclist Marco Pantani has been summoned to appear before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping panel in one week, a CONI spokesman announced Wednesday. Pantani will be called to account for evidence seized by Florence prosecutors during last year’s police raids on the San Remo hotel rooms of teams competing in the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) – the documents pertaining to the case have since been transmitted to CONI. Pantani, dubbed ‘il pirata’ (the pirate), remains hugely popular in Italy after winning the 1998 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double but has been implicated in a number of doping-related judicial cases. Last year he had a three-month suspended prison term overturned on a technicality by an appeal court but the court made it clear in giving its judgment that it did not believe the rider to be innocent. Pantani had earlier said that there was no way to link drugs and empty syringes seized during the raid to him, but prosecutors have since forwarded evidence to CONI which will now begin its own probe into the matter.