Tributes are being paid to 2011 Giro d’Italia champion Michele Scarponi, who was killed in a collision with a van this morning while training near his home in Italy.
The 37-year-old returned home yesterday after finishing fourth in the Tour of the Alps and tweeted a picture last night of himself with his twin boys, both wearing the leader’s jerseys he was awarded after winning the first stage of the race.
He wrote: “Even if just for one day, I thought about bringing two leader’s jerseys home.”
...anche se solo per un giorno ho pensato di portarne a casa 2 di maglie da leader.... pic.twitter.com/EYpS648e1i
— Michele Scarponi (@MicheleScarponi) April 21, 2017
His death has left the world of cycling in Italy and further afield in shock. Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas, who yesterday sealed the overall win at the Tour of the Alps, was among those to pay tribute.
Devastated to hear the news about Scarponi. Can't believe it. My thoughts with all his friends, family and team
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) April 22, 2017
Scarponi joined Astana in 2014 and was a key rider in support of Vincenzo Nibali when the Sicilian won the Tour de France that year. Nibali wrote: “I don’t know. I can’t do it. I have no words my friend.”
Non lo so , non c'è la faccio ! Non ho parole amico mio...
— Vincenzo Nibali (@vincenzonibali) April 22, 2017
Scarponi was popular with his fellow pros, many taking to Twitter this morning to express their shock at the news and condolences to his family.
What a terrible news. Such a funny guy. RIP Michele Scarponi. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.
— Bauke Mollema (@BaukeMollema) April 22, 2017
Off the bike he was rarely without a smile on his face and was known for his sense of humour, epitomised by several videos he posted to Twitter showing a parrot joining him on training rides near his home. This one was retweeted this morning by Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri.
Michele Scarponi, the only cyclist that trained with a parrot.
Rest in peace and bicycle pic.twitter.com/MBCSC1itC7
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) April 22, 2017
Two-time Giro d’Italia champion Ivan Basso described Scarponi as his “dear friend” and spoke of his “infectious smile.”
Ciao Michele #Scarponi. Amico caro. Esempio e contaminatore di sorrisi
— ivanbasso (@ivanbasso) April 22, 2017
Scarponi was runner-up to Alberto Contador in the 2011 Giro d’Italia and was awarded the overall title the following year after the Spaniard was banned for doping.
A tragic accident took you away from us. You will always be in our hearts and on our roads. Ciao Michele pic.twitter.com/GU5SJHtSYr
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) April 22, 2017
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.