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Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD)
Giro to honour Italian as 2011 champion prior to start of 2012 edition
Michele Scarponi will be presented with the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey of the 2011 champion in a ceremony in Denmark two days prior to the start of this year's Giro, according to the Associated Press.
Scarponi finished the 2011 Giro d'Italia in second place, but winner Alberto Contador was stripped of his title after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed the Spaniard a two-year sanction for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. All the results earned by the Spaniard from the 2010 Tour through to his sanction were annulled.
"For the fans, Contador won the race last year and he wore the pink jersey in Milan. But according to the ban Contador never raced, so statistically Scarponi becomes the winner," Giro d'Italia director Michele Acquarone told the AP.
"I know that's not how Scarponi wants to win it, so I'm sure this will make him want to win it more than anyone else this year," Acquarone said. "This should serve as motivation for him."
Scarponi will start the Giro d'Italia, which begins May 5 in Denmark, with the number one dossard reserved for defending champions.
Additionally, no rider will wear number 108 as the number has been permanently retired in honour of Wouter Weylandt. The Belgian started the 2011 Giro wearing that number and was tragically killed in a crash during stage three.
This year's third stage will be dedicated to Weylandt and the Belgian's family has been invited to Denmark for the stage.