13 Nov 2010

Pantani jersey stolen

11:29 am on 13 November 2010

A yellow jersey worn by the late Italian cyclist Marco Pantani during his 1998 Tour de France win has been stolen from a Milan exhibition.

The Italian cycling museum in Madonna del Ghisallo, which had lent the jersey to nearby Milan's bike and motorbike fair, has appealed for its swift return.

Pantani, the last man to win the Giro d'Italia and Tour in the same year, died of a cocaine overdose in February 2004 aged 34.

Pantani, known as "the pirate" because of his swashbuckling style of racing and the colourful bandana he wore to cover his shaven head, was one of Italy's most popular sportsmen.

However, his career was overshadowed by doping scandals. He was thrown out of the 1999 Giro while leading the race for failing a blood haematocrit test - an indicator, though not proof, of the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

In 2002 he was suspended for six months after a syringe containing insulin was found in his hotel room during the 2001 Giro.