Michele Scarponi, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2011, died after a collision with a van while training on Saturday. He was 37. Scarponi was training near his home of Filottrano, near Ancona, Italy when he was hit by a van at a crossroads, Team Astana said. According to Italian media reports, the Astana cyclist died on the spot and was unable to be revived by emergency services. Team Astana called it "a tragedy too big to be written" in a statement, per the AP. "We left a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation, he was a real milestone and a landmark for everyone in the Astana Pro Team," it added.
Scarponi is survived by a wife and twin sons. He had returned home after finishing fourth in the Tour of the Alps on Friday in Trento. He won the first stage on Monday. Scarponi had tweeted a photo Friday night, with his sons on his back and the caption: "Even if only for a day I thought I'd bring home two leaders' jerseys." Scarponi—who was awarded the 2011 Giro trophy after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title because of doping—had been named as Astana's leader for the upcoming Giro d'Italia, which starts in less than two weeks, after Fabio Aru pulled out with a knee injury. "An infinite tragedy. Words don't exist. Rest in peace my friend," Aru tweeted. (Read more cycling stories.)