(REUTERS, AFP) - Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi has been killed in a road accident after being hit by a van while training close to his home in Filottrano, his Astana team said on Saturday.
The 37-year-old finished the Tour of Alps on Friday and left home early on Saturday morning for a training ride where the accident occurred at a crossroads.
"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," Astana said in a statement.
Scarponi is survived by his wife and two children.
"This is a tragedy too big to be written," Astana wrote on Twitter, paying tribute to the veteran, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2011. "Ciao Michele," the team added.