Cyclist Michele Scarponi, who was declared the winner of the 2011 Giro d’Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of his title because of doping, was killed Saturday when he was hit by a van driver at a crossroad while training near his home in Italy. He was 37.
Astana Pro Team, for whom Scarponi competed, called him “a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation” in a statement.
According to CNN, Scarponi returned to his home in Filottrano, Italy, after Friday’s fourth-place finish in the Tour of Alps. Cycling News says he was killed during the training run when the van driver didn’t see him at the crossroads.
Fellow pro cyclist Mark Cavendish reacted to the news on Twitter.
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) April 22, 2017
Contador said he was “speechless” at the news, saying Scarponi had a “contagious smile.”
Paralizado y sin palabras ante la noticia sobre el atropello a Scarponi,gran persona y siempre con una sonrisa contagiosa.D.E.P amigo.
— Alberto Contador (@albertocontador) April 22, 2017
Scarponi recently began posting videos to social media that showed him cycling with a macaw he named Frankje.