Tributes flood in for Michele Scarponi after Italian dies in training crash

The cycling world pays its respects to Italian climber

On Saturday morning the cycling world awoke to the tragic news that Michele Scarponi had been killed in a collision with a vehicle while he was training near his home in Filottrano, Italy.

The 37-year-old, and former Giro d'Italia winner, was hit by a van at an intersection shortly after leaving for a training ride. When the tragic news was announced, reactions from teammates, fellow riders, teams and the rest of the cycling fraternity quickly poured in. 

Scarponi had recently been named the leader of the Astana team for the Giro d'Italia after Fabio Aru was ruled of the race due to a knee injury.

He won the opening stage at the Tour of the Alps on Monday and wore the race leader's jersey for a day. He dedicated his victory to the earthquake victims of central Italy, to his wife Anna and their young twin sons, Giacomo and Tommaso.

Giuseppe Saronni, Scarponi's former manager and current Team UAE Emirates GM and the team said they were "honored for having had the privilege of spending with him moments which he contributed to be special", and offered condolences to his family.

The race organisers of the Tour of the Alps were shocked at the news.

"A few hours ago Michele Scarponi was here with us, a great protagonist and a stage winner at the Tour of the Alps ending in Trento," said Giacomo Santini, president of the GS Alto Garda. "He was back home on Friday night, and he barely had the time to rejoin his wife and kids before his tragic fate brought him away. It's a huge void and a huge pain for the whole cycling family. He was a champion on the road, and of sympathy too.

"At the starts, he was always willing and available for autographs, chatting, always smiling. We feel honored to have given him his final victory. But this also makes us feel even more involved in the grief of his beloveds."

General Manager Maurizio Evangelista said the news "leaves us breathless".

"We don't have enough words to express to his family the huge pain we are suffering, just like the whole cycling family. Michele Scarponi was a great professional, deeply in love with his job, and above all an extremely likable person, always kind, easygoing and available for everybody. His example should remain fixed in the mind of everybody who practices this sport.”

Geraint Thomas, who recently went head-to-head with Scarponi at the Tour of Alps, posted his respects on Twitter, as did many of Scarponi's current and former Astana teammates.   

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