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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 22:21 GMT 23:21 UK
Pantani seeks help
Pantani has been the focus of doping suspicions since the 1999 Giro d'Italia
Pantani has been the focus of doping suspicions since 1999
Former Tour de France champion Marco Pantani has entered a health clinic specialising in treatment for depression and drug addiction.

In an open letter to the press, he revealed he is being cared for at the Parco dei Tigli clinic in Teolo, northern Italy.

"I hope this letter will put to rest the continuous conjecture on my state of health," wrote Pantani.

He also called on his fans and the media to respect his privacy and that of other patients at the clinic.

Pantani, who won both the Tour and Giro d'Italia in 1998 before becoming the subject of numerous doping investigations, finished 14th in the latest Giro earlier this month.

Italy's most popular cyclist has been the focus of doping suspicions since the 1999 Giro.

He was dominating that race until he was suspended for failing a blood test before the start of the penultimate stage.




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