Giro d'Italia: Astana launch Scarponi tribute bidons - News shorts

Astana launch Scarponi tribute bidons

Astana will pay further tribute to the late Michele Scarponi as the Giro d'Italia heads for the high mountains, with the launch of special-edition bidons that depict Frankje the macaw.

Scarponi was killed in late April when he was hit by a truck on a training ride near his home in Italy. After playing an instrumental role in Vincenzo Nibali's second overall victory last year, he was set to lead Astana in the absence of Fabio Aru, and the team left his spot in the team empty.

The Giro organisers themselves honoured Scarponi – a former winner, according to official record books – in the race's 100th edition by naming the Passo del Mortirolo, which provides the appetiser to the double Stelvio ascent on Tuesday's stage 16, the 'Cima Scarponi'.

Frankje, a local macaw, used to accompany Scarponi on training rides and the pair developed a bond, with the relationship capturing public imagination as Scarponi uploaded videos to his social media accounts. On stage 16 Astana riders will use the bidons, which will also be handed out to fans on the road and outside the team bus at the start and finish. Extra bidons will also be given to Scarponi's fanmily.

"It is just a small thing," said the team, "but we believe it will help everyone to remember the great champion, Michele Scarponi."

Kruijswijk's Giro d'Italia hampered by rib injury from Yorkshire

Steven Kruijswijk's start to the Giro d'Italia was hampered by a rib fracture that he sustained on the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire late last month, the LottoNL-Jumbo rider revealed during the Giro's third rest day.

"It was a proper crash and I sustained a fracture in my ribs. There was also some bruising," Kruijswijk said, according to

Kruijswijk seemed flustered by a technical run-in on stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia, and was too far back before the 3km to go banner, losing 13 seconds after being caught caught up behind a crash. He crashed again on stage 4 to Mount Etna at a poorly signalled right turn where some riders went straight by mistake.

"It does something to your body. I think that I was just that few per cent less. Then I went down on the way to Etna, and your body gets another blow that it needs to process," he said.

He then finished 2:43 down on Nairo Quintana on Blockhaus on stage 9, and lost the same amount of time to Tom Dumoulin in the time trial. He bled more time into Bagno di Romagna to the favourites, but began to look more like himself on the stage to Oropa. He's looking forward to the third week to try and turn things around further.

"Maybe that per cent I lacked meant I couldn't stay with the best. Hopefully, the body is ready now and I can spend all the energy I've invested in getting a result."

Snow clears on Stelvio but cars limited with avalanche risk

Any fears that the Giro d'Italia would run into route problems on the Stelvio pass on Tuesday have been allayed by the recent spell of clement weather, though Giro d'Italia organisers will still be limiting the number or vehicles allowed up due to the risk of avalanche.

The top of the pass stands at 2758m altitude, and had been photographed covered in snow towards the start of the Giro, as we've become accustomed to seeing it in the Giro. Snowfall and poor visibility in the 2013 edition caused confusion and controversy as some riders believed the descent had been neutralised.

Photos were taken at the top of the Stelvio showed the snow had cleared considerably, while clear conditions are forecast for Tuesday. Still, the warmer weather has increased the possibility of avalanche and, as has become customary at the Giro, the number of vehicles allowed up the mountain will be limited to reduce the risk of unsettling the snow. This won't affect the team cars in the race, nor the television broadcast.

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Recon Ride rest day podcast

It's the third rest day of the Giro d'Italia, and a time to reflect on the racing that's already behind the peloton along with the week to come. Tom Dumoulin looks dominant in the maglia rosa with 2:41 on 2014 winner Nairo Quintana, but there's a lot of climbing to come.

Who has been on the rise? Who has been losing ground? And what should we look for in the final week? Listen in on the discussion in the rest day edition of the Cyclingnews podcast Recon Ride.

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