Thousands of mourners will tomorrow pay their respects to Michele Scarponi as the 37-year-old, winner of the 2011 Giro d’Italia, is laid to rest in his home town of Filottrano following his death at the weekend.
More than 7,000 people are expected to attend the service in the Marche town’s football stadium, which begins at 3.30pm and will be conducted by the Cardinal of Ancona, Edoardo Menichelli, reports the Gazzetta dello Sport.
Among those present will be former Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali, whom he helped win the Tour de France in 2014, and Fabio Aru, who only last week was revealed by the Kazakh team to be missing the Giro d’Italia through injury with Scarponi due to lead its challenge instead.
Scarponi, who just a week ago won the opening stage of the Tour of the Alps was killed on Saturday morning while on a training ride when the driver of a Fiat Iveco flatbed truck reportedly failed to give him priority.
The driver, a 57-year-old local man, was reported to have told Carabinieri that he had not seen the cyclist.
The Astana rider’s body, dressed in the colours of his team, is currently in a chapel of rest with people queueing up to pay their respects – among them, the parents of Tour de France and Giro d’Italia champion Marco Pantani, who joined Scarponi’s parents in prayer.
This weekend, Italian sport paid tribute to him, including Serie A clubs holding a minute’s silence ahead of their matches – accompanied at the Juventus Stadium in Turin by images of Scarponi on the big screen, retweeted by former world number 1 cyclist, Michele Bartoli.
Raccoglimento in memoria del campione di ciclismo Michele Scarponi, scomparso ieri. pic.twitter.com/vpz101VMyM
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) April 23, 2017
Before the start of Liege-Bastogne-Liege yesterday, the peloton observed a minute’s silence in memory of Scarponi.
— Liège-Bastogne-Liège (@LiegeBastogneL) April 23, 2017
His Astana team also produced this tribute video.
In our memory forever... Big champion and great friend... Michele Scarponi, you are in our hearts. pic.twitter.com/6P3QsStiXX
— Astana Proteam (@AstanaTeam) April 22, 2017
One poignant image circulating on social media today shows the macaw named Frankje, who would often join Scarponi on training rides near his home – he regularly posted videos of her flying onto his shoulder or helmet – perched on the sign at the crossroads where he was killed.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.