Former Giro champion Michele Scarponi killed in road accident
Former Giro d’Italia champion Michele Scarponi has died after a road accident on Saturday morning. He was 37.
Scarponi, winner of the 2011 Giro after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title, was hit by a van during a training ride near his home in Filottrano.
He leaves behind a wife and two children.
"This is a tragedy too big to be written," his team Astana said in a statement.
" We left a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation, he was a real mile stone and a landmark for everyone in the Astana Pro Team. The Astana Pro Team clings to the Michele family in this incredibly painful moment of sorrow and mourning."
Scarponi won a stage at the Tour of the Alps on Monday and was recently promoted to Astana’s team leader for the upcoming Giro after Fabio Aru withdrew.
He was one of cycling’s most popular riders and was regularly spotted riding with his parrot Frankie.
Scarponi, who started his professional career in 2002, got his best results in Italian races, winning three stages on the Giro before being handed the 2011 title after Contador was stripped of his victory because of a retroactive doping ban.
Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi poses his 2011 Tour of Italy trophy after receiving the winner's pink jersey following the disqualification of Alberto ContadoGetty Images
He also had good results in the one-day races, finishing fourth on the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic in 2003.
Scarponi was suspended for 18 months after being implicated in the Operation Puerto blood doping scandal in 2006.
After he returned from suspension, he won the Tirreno-Adriatico in 2009 and the Tour of Catalonia in 2011.
With additional reporting from Reuters