The Italian pro cyclist Michele Scarponi has died in a collision with a truck during training this morning.
The 37 year old, who was riding in Filottrano. had been recently named Team Astana leader for the upcoming Giro d’Italia.
Yesterday he completed the Tour of the Alps in fourth position, having won the opening stage of the race.
In 2011 he won the Giro after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title.
A statement from Team Astana said: “This is a tragedy too big to be written.
“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.
“The Astana Pro Team clings to the Michele family in this incredibly painful moment of sorrow and mourning.”
He leaves behind a wife and twin children.
According to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, the fatal crash happened at 8am on via dell'Industria.
Scarponi was said to have been hit by the van head-on with the collision witnessed by dozens of car occupants.
An ambulance arrived within minutes, and an air ambulance was also dispatched, but Scarponi was pronounced dead at the scene.
Michele died in the morning while he was training.
This is a tragedy too big to be written.
Our athlete Michele Scarponi died this morning while he was training on his bike close to his home in Filottrano. Michele has been hitted by a van on a crossroad.
Born in September 25th 1979, he left a wife and two kids.
Michele ended 4th in the Tour of Alps yesterday afternoon in Trento. Then he went home in Filottrano (Ancona) by car with his masseur and was home in the evening to his family.
This morning Michele went out on his bike for an early morning training and there the tragedy happened.
We left a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation, he was a real mile stone and a landmark for everyone in the Astana Pro Team.
The Astana Pro Team clings to the Michele family in this incredibly painful moment of sorrow and mourning.