Serie A fans’ tribute to cycling great Pantani

Serie A fans' tribute to cycling great Pantani
Marco Pantani died in a Rimini hotel room in 2004. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP
Cesena fans put aside their Seria A club's struggles to pay tribute to Marco Pantani on Sunday with banners wishing the Italian cycling great a posthumous happy birthday.

Former Tour de France and Giro d'Italia champion Pantani, known as 'Il Pirata' (The Pirate) before his death from acute cocaine poisoning in a hotel room in Rimini in February 2004, would have been 45 on January 13th.

During the game at Cesena's Dino Manuzzi stadium, 'ultra' fans of the Emilia-Romagna club unfurled banners which read: "Best wishes Pirata, the pride of all of Romagna."

League strugglers Cesena were minutes away from securing a draw before Maxi Lopez hit an 87th minute winner for the visitors.

Domenico Di Carlo's side moved up one place from bottom spot after fellow strugglers Parma suffered a 2-0 home defeat by Sampdoria.

SEE ALSO: 'No evidence Pantani was murdered': prosecutor

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