Astana rider Michele Scarponi has posted a video of himself out on a training ride with a rather unusual companion - a parrot perched on his shoulder with its plumage matching his team colours.
con l'amico Frankje pic.twitter.com/NjaMO8OOzc
— Michele Scarponi (@MicheleScarponi) January 7, 2016
Towards the end of the video, shot in Scarponi's birthplace of Filottrano in Italy's Marche region, the female blue and yellow macaw, called Frankie, pecks playfully at his helmet, prompting the rider to tell her to "stop it!"
Frankie, aged two, is something of a local celebrity and last year hit the headlines after she went missing for several days.
When she was returned to her owner, Giacomo Luchetta, whom she believes is her mother, he said "she's well and wants lots of cuddles."
It's not the first time Frankie has joined 2011 Giro d'Italia champion Scarponi for a ride; here's a picture he took of her in February last year.
— Michele Scarponi (@MicheleScarponi) February 3, 2015
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.