The van driver involved in the collision last year that resulted in the death of 2011 Giro d’Italia champion Michele Scarponi has died of cancer.
Press reports in Italy suggest that Giuseppe Giacconi, aged 58 and from Filottrano, the same small town in Italy’s Marche region as Scarponi, had been consumed by grief following the fatal crash on 22 April last year.
Astana rider Scarponi was on a training ride ahead of the Giro d’Italia, where he was due to lead the Kazakh team after Fabio Aru was ruled out through injury, when Giacconi, a carpenter by trade, hit him at a junction.
Scarponi had been awarded the victory in the 2011 edition of the race after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title following his ban for his positive test for clenbuterol during the previous year's Tour de France.
According to the Corriere della Sera, for months after the fatal incident, Giacconi – by all accounts a fan of Scarponi – would repeat the words, “I didn’t see him, I didn’t see him.”
Some reports suggest that the driver had said he had been blinded by the sun, although last October it was claimed that he had admitted to prosecutors that he had been watching a video on his mobile phone at the time.
Giacconi’s funeral took place yesterday and he has been buried in the same cemetery as Scarponi in their home town.
With his death, the criminal investigation into the death at the age of 37 of Scarponi comes to a close, since there is no longer a suspect.
The news comes ahead of the launch in Rome later today of a road safety initiative aimed at reducing cyclist casualties and devised by Italy’s national cycling federation the FCI in partnership with agencies including the country’s national police force.
Quick Step Floors sprinter and Olympic omnium champion Elia Viviani will be at the presentation, as will Scarponi’s brother, Marco.
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.