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Michele Scarponi Obituary

Michele Scarponi, a jester and the accidental winner of the 2011 Giro d’Italia, died on Saturday 22 April aged 37 following a collision with a truck on the outskirts of his home town of Filottrano.

Scarponi grew up in the agricultural town of Filottrano. His parents bought him a Bianchi bike to celebrate his first communion and he rose up the ranks, making the Italian national team as a junior. Like many from central and southern Italy Scarponi went north to make it as a pro. He joined the all-conquering Zalf team which has consistently supplied the pro ranks with many of Italy’s best; recent alumni include Gianni Moscon and Sonny Colbrelli.

Scarponi signed for the Acqua e Sapone team of Mario Cipollini and later told La Gazzetta Dello Sport’s Marco Pastonesi he felt out of place, like “Alice in Wonderland”. He saw for himself the two sides of Cipollini, the theatrical showman seen by the public and the more private professional athlete that was not so visible. It was something that Scarponi would mimic in his own way later on as a joker on television and an ascetic in training camps.

He was made for TV with his ready smile and wisecracks. This made him a regular invitee on RAI’s Giro d’Italia Processo alla Tappa post-stage show and sometimes when he wasn’t invited he’d still find his way in front of RAI’s cameras. Not for him dull “I’m taking it day by day” or “I’m feeling optimal and calm” robo-quotes. Instead it was like watching a lycra-clad Roberto Benigni in full flow, with jokes and self-mockery delivered in his nasal marchigiano accent, and above all his extrovert facial expressions. Not that you studied what he was doing, you’d just laugh along. Was he born this way? Certainly from his amateur days Scarponi was known as a joker and to scan the photo archives is to find hundreds of images of him smiling. Even when posing for official team photographs he’d look relaxed.

The jester role must have been precious inside the team bus for morale but may not have been apparent outside the Italian media until recently when via social media Scarponi filmed himself cycling with a Macaw parrot called Frankie. They both lived in the hilltop town of Filottrano and Frankie, “the parrot who thinks he’s a human” had become the darling of locals as he flew around town visiting bars for peanuts, sharing ice cream with children and accompanying local cyclists. The two seemed perfectly matched, the “Eagle of Filottrano” in his blue and yellow Astana kit and the parrot with his matching plumage.

So far so funny but doping has to be mentioned. He was twice banned and this past followed him like a ball and chain: to tweet the result of his win in the Tour of the Alps earlier this week was to receive sceptical responses. Scarponi like many of his generation was involved in scandal. After moving to the Liberty Seguros teams he was “Zapatero” amid the slapdash codenames used by Eufemiano Fuentes and his colleagues for their extensive doping network. With zapatero being a bootmaker in Spanish and scarponi meaning boots in Italian it didn’t take forensic science to make the connection. The standard tariff was two years but he got an 18 month ban after cooperated with the Italian authorities. He was banned again for three months in 2012 after admitting working with Michele Ferrari. This earned him possibly the unique label of being a client of the two most infamous doping doctors: anecdotally interesting but probably more the reflection of his career path than anything else. Hired for a Spanish team meant Fuentes, returning to Italy meant Ferrari where he and so many of his peers (Visconti, Pozzato et al) were linked. Scarponi was caught by a vast police wire tap operation that it still quietly playing out in the background today.

The irony is that Scarponi’s greatest result was the 2011 Giro d’Italia which owed itself to a doping ban. Alberto Contador’s positive test in the 2010 Tour de France eventually led to the Spaniard’s sanction but only after he’d won the 2011 Giro the following year. So when a backdated ban was imposed the runner-up was promoted as the winner. The title of Giro winner never seemed to stick to Scarponi, perhaps because he never got to celebrate the win but also because that second ban for working with Michele Ferrari appeared soon after. He didn’t fully embrace the status of Giro winner either, when he was awarded the Trofeo Senza Fine on the eve of the 2012 Giro he seemed embarrassed, saying he’d store the trophy in a team truck while he thought what do with it although he did start the prologue wearing the maglia rosa, the privilege of the previous year’s winner.

Cima Coppi 2016

Continuing well into his thirties Scarponi became a mountain lieutenant and was instrumental in Vincenzo Nibali’s resurgent triumph at the 2016 Giro d’Italia, a blue-shirted Saint Bernard. Scarponi was up the road on the penultimate mountain stage to Risoul, taking the Cima Coppi prize after crossing the Colle dell’Agnello solo and the stage win was likely. But behind race leader Steven Kruijswijk crashed into a wall of snow on the descent and second place Esteban Chaves was on the ropes and Nibali stood to gain. Scarponi sat up with almost canine loyalty and waited for Nibali. Nibali later declared Scarponi “deserves a statue.

He was due to play the support role in the Giro this year for Fabio Aru. Only Aru crashed in April, smashed his knee was ruled out of the Giro leaving Scarponi to fill the Sardinian’s boots. A big ask but things were looking bright, he won the opening stage of the Tour of the Alps and took the leader’s jersey and backstage he asked for a spare so he could gift one to each of his twin sons – before finishing fourth overall. He drove home on Friday night and shared a photo on social media of him with his two sons and their new jerseys.

Saturday morning saw two workers up early on a sunny spring morning in the Marche region of Italy. One was 37 years old and donned his sky blue Astana kit. The other was a 57 year old builder who climbed into his yellow Fiat Iveco truck. Scarponi set off on a recovery ride, taking the familiar road west out of Filottrano. The builder was driving to Filottrano. As Scarponi rode out of town the builder made a left turn, driving right across the cyclist’s path and killing him on the spot.

He leaves his wife Anna and two sons.

“Certe mattine m’ impigrisco, faccio fatica ad alzarmi e vestirmi. Ma saltato sulla bici, ritrovo la leggerezza del vivere”
“Some mornings I feel lazy, I struggle to get out of bed and get dressed. But I jump on my bike and life feels light again”
– Michele Scarponi to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, 2012

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Joe Saroni Sunday, 23 April 2017, 4:50 pm

    A horrific reminder of the dangers of being a pro cyclist. We have all witnessed the dangers that exist during a race, but the true danger that we all share is the daily perferformace of our preferred activity in an increasingly distracted world. It’s undeniable, being a member of the pro peloton is more dangerous than driving in Formula 1.
    Addio Michele, non solo un personaggio, ma un marito e padre…

    • Hammarling Sunday, 23 April 2017, 8:07 pm

      I’ll go ahead and deny that pro cycling is more dangerous than pro motorsport, because the majority of pro-cyclist deaths have nothing to do with racing at all, whilst the majority of motorsport deaths are during events. I say this having watched a 17 year old lose his legs a week ago mid-race, which to me hurt more than hearing about Scarponi.

      The issue is that cycling on a public road carries a higher potential risk than driving, because a cyclist isn’t surrounded by metal and seatbelts and airbags. A tragedy for pro-cycling whenever a rider is killed, or injured, when training. And we shouldn’t live in a world where this happens at all.

      • Larry T Monday, 24 April 2017, 2:21 pm

        I’m reminded of Mike Hailwood, a guy who raced both on two wheels and four only to lose his life in a all-too-common automobile crash. While one is certainly more vulnerable on two it didn’t save Mike the BIke. During my moto and bicycle racing/riding daze I’ve always subscribed to the old “when your numbers up” philosophy. How else can one do anything involving any sort of risk?
        RIP Scarponi.

    • StevhanTI Monday, 24 April 2017, 9:18 am

      Not just a pro cyclist. I cycle to my work every morning, it’s under 10k but every evening when I’m safe home I’m relieved. Some days I think I get a minor form of PTSD from all this cycling through trafic.

      Anyway it was a genuine shock for me, my thoughts have been with his boys and his wife for all the weekend.

  • BC Sunday, 23 April 2017, 5:54 pm

    Tragic and almost unbelievable in equal measure. RIP Michele.

  • Kit Sunday, 23 April 2017, 5:56 pm

    Thank you for this. RIP Michele.

  • Steppings Sunday, 23 April 2017, 6:15 pm

    Rest in Peace Michele, thank you for what you gave us. My thoughts to your family.

  • Anonymous Sunday, 23 April 2017, 6:56 pm

    I will never understand this obsession with doping. I understand, that a sport, which needs rules to determine the way it gets run, makes rules for what is allowed and what not, ok. But how this has anything to do with morale or ethics, I will never understand (and I know, that many people don’t understand me in that regard). To me it is a totally arbitrary idea that helping your performance with pills is bad and helping your performance with money or connections or exploitation is not. Either both is morally wrong or both is morally right.

    The typical laziness of thinking and feeling of the people leads to this idea, that antidoping rules lead to a “level playfield”, which then leads in their minds to “justice and fair competition”, which then means they equal antidoping with fairness and morality (that is why I call it lazy thinking). But the very essence of sport is to find a winner, therefore to determine a hierarchy, which means there is no level playing field. One person is bigger, another is smaller, one has a bigger lung, the other has long legs, one has more talent and wins, the other has a little less talent and gets second, another one has determination, that helps them. There simply is no such thing as a level playing field.

    However, as said, I understand, that in the sense of the competition, one might set up rules, to have that competition on an at least similar level. But this is an arbitrary thing, it has nothing to do with morality. Even more arbitrary, because it is allowed to gain advantage from deep pockets, but not from pills. It is allowed, that a nationalistic backer can spend millions on a team, which then competes against others, who can only spend ten thousands. It is allowed that those with money can train moths in areas, where nobody can watch them, where they gain some of the advantage EPO gives, just because they can afford it, while others can not. Some drive to a race, while others can fly and have an advantage this way. Some throw every pills they can get their hands on in their riders (I only say vi@gra) to find an advantage, while others try to gain advantage with new age stuff. You see: Arbitrary.

    All this means, this lazy idea of a “level playing field” is just a phantasy. I understand, when people are mad at people who brake the rules, but to make this a question of morality is something I never will get. You don’t want to tell me, that an arbitrary list, which some corrupt people in corrupt federations set up, determines for you what is ethical or not? Really? So taking tram@dol is ethical for you, but coffeine is not (don’t know, if coffeine is still on the list, don’t think so, but take every other medicament in it’s place), simply because it is on the list? That is what you wanna tell me? Lazy.

    This whole laziness and (to me) smallheartedness of many leads exactly to this, what we see here: That someone writes about a person, who lived sadly only 37 years on this earth, who during this time spoke with thousands of people, saw millions of things, had billions of thoughts and feelings – and almost a third you write about that person is doping. Really? I mean, for real? This is perverse. It makes me angry.

    And it is nothing I want to be part of. I want to be part of a sport who gives second chances, who appreciates people and that they have faults, fears, but also dreams and joy. I don’t want to be part of this fascistic idea of sport, where riders are prisoners of the rules and antidoping (no, let’s be perfectly clear, this is the result of a part of the fans, the officials alone would never be this cold, it are the righteous one’s with the forks and torches in comments and social media, that lead to this dictatorship of inhumanity. So what I want to say must read: Where the riders are the prisoners of some fans’ lazy idea of fairness in sport).

    Human beings are human. Which means they fall and err and make mistakes. This is nothing bad. This is the way we are and learn our lessons. We make dumb shit and can’t sometimes even tell afterwards why we did it. So it may happen, that someone, even a whole group of people fall. But let’s be happy, if they stand up again, let’s help them, find out why they fall and how we can stop that from happening and not try to cast them out, as if they are second rate or have nothing to give or as if doping/antidoping is all they are. Because the very next day it could be us, who fall, even if we never thought we would – and then we are happy, if we get a second or even third chance. Then we are happy, if people believe in us and see more than only our errors in us. Because no person is just one decision. We all are more.

    I was in real shock, when I read about Michele Scarponi’s death. I never met him personally, but I think he was happy, when he could make others happy and life brighter for everybody. Every person is missed, but some we miss more, because they gave so much more. And Michele Scarponi, as every rider, surely was more than doping.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 23 April 2017, 7:09 pm

      I wrote one paragraph on his doping past among ten more. Your comment appears almost as long as the whole post itself and will now attach more weight to this part of his career and may lead to more comments down here about doping rather than the man.

      As you say though he was more than the doping, it’s been interesting to see the reaction from many of his peers in the peloton, all celebrating the man as someone warm and fun rather than rating what kind of cyclist he was.

      • Struan Sunday, 23 April 2017, 7:34 pm

        You’re both right. Cycling isn’t a level playing field -> Team Sky vs Cannodale-Drapac and the financial resources available to both. Would Froome be winning Tour De Frances if we was on Cannondale? Not a chance. He’s a great rider but he benefits from the support and preparation (I’m not referring to doping) that a well financed team can afford.

        If Inner Ring didn’t mention Scarponi’s doping sanctions, someone else would have nailed him for it. I thought it was a well balanced response.

        I was and am sad for his death. The last picture of him and his sons the night before, his longevity, his Frankie videos, his most recent win and the opportunity to lead a team in his home country’s biggest race on its 100th edition.

        Today, I went for a mountain bike ride instead of my usual Sunday road ride, just because I was thinking of the danger on the road once again hilighted by this tragic event. And I thought of Michele.

        • STS Sunday, 23 April 2017, 7:48 pm

          +1 Struan, I was just about to write something along the same lines. Anonymous’ post as much as I sympathize with his attitude is misplaced here. And I also opted for a mountain bike ride today since the trails here do not allow for any other thoughts if you want to stay on your bike. Yesterday was a very sad day for me because of the tragedy of Scarponi’s family.

          • Othersteve Monday, 24 April 2017, 1:16 am

            +2 Cycling as we all know is inherently a dangerous sport. I found myself buying and enjoying a nice gravel bike and leaving the road bike in garage for the last few months, for the above reasons.

            Scarponi will have a high stature place and history and it will be well deserved and appreciated by most of us.

            best to his family and team.

          • rick norton Monday, 24 April 2017, 8:11 pm

            i’ve read through scarponi posts in many different publications (cyclingnews/ velonews/ even mainstream media posts) but i couldn’t help thinking that overlooking what could be considered cheating seemed imperfect to me just as much as the need to respect the ones he left behind (i’m a latin teacher – nihil nisi bonum de mortuis!). i understand (probably even mostly agree) that on the grand scale of misdeeds doping seems less morally objectionable than most misdeeds.
            Having typed that – there are reasons for doping that seem shadier than others and a failure to atone for your misdeeds that in my view are pretty objectionable. my issue in scarponi’s case and i probably can’t really know the answer is that if he and his best astana teammates engaged in unfair practices in the final few days of last year’s giro (if blood doping explains nibali’s resurgence and scarponi’s massive pulls in the final 2 mountain stages) that seems much more objectionable than mick rogers eating asian clenbuterol meat.
            i am also curious if we know enough about the circumstances of the collision to know if there was fault or it was unavoidable. at this stage there probably are not any cyclists who are more than a degree or two removed from knowing someone killed or seriously hurt in a collision with a car. the prevailing culture of ‘it’s the damn cyclist’s own fault’ must change.
            i understand that celebrating the many great characteristics of scarponi is the right thing to do so soon after his collision. conversely, i also think not weighing in on some shortcomings (in due time) makes the obligatory praise less ingenuous – more simply pro forma.
            he was extremely well regarded by his peers – nothing i could type here as an armchair fan compares to that.

        • Strictly Amateur / The GCW Monday, 24 April 2017, 4:18 pm

          Struan,

          An example is Wiggins on Garmin 2011, then Wiggins winning with Sky 2012.

          But perhaps there’s more to it than money.

          Team Garmin gets praise from Tour de France leader Brit Wiggins http://www.denverpost.com/2012/07/18/team-garmin-gets-praise-from-tour-de-france-leader-brit-wiggins/

          Relevant news might also illustrate differences in team policy in combination w/ other factors… on and on.

          • channel_zero Monday, 24 April 2017, 5:52 pm

            Wiggins on Garmin got promoted to third with notably not-clean Contador, Schleck, and Armstrong ahead of him in 2009 with only good TT results prior to 2009.

            Whatever transformation (cough, doping! COUGH) occurred in 2009, the following years at Sky were more of the same.

      • Anonymous Sunday, 23 April 2017, 8:03 pm

        I don’t want to argue, so just one thing: For sure my comment is way too long. I know. I tried, but I couldn’t say my piece in less words. Sorry for that.

        I also thought about the question, if this piece is the right place or if it will take away from Michele Scarponi, but then I thought it is exactly the right place. To me. I totally understand, if others see this differently.

        • Alan Monday, 24 April 2017, 1:03 pm

          Well your overlong and innappropriate comment simply gets skipped past – leave it out, or take it to cyclingnews.com garbage dump forum where it belongs.

          • David P Monday, 24 April 2017, 3:37 pm

            That’s a shame, because if you had read it you’d see that he/she makes an engaging and interesting point. I don’t entirely agree with it, but it is well written and actually . Not saying you should read it, but don’t trash it if you haven’t.

          • David Wednesday, 26 April 2017, 8:51 am

            Well it seems an (inadvertently) appropriate response, given that anonymous doesn’t appear to have read the original post beyond seeing the word ‘doping’ and jumping straight down to comment.

            How anyone could read inrng’s piece and then claim that ‘a third’ was about doping (factually untrue) and imply that it’s judgemental and moralising (a bizarre interpretation) is bemusing.

    • LeoA Monday, 24 April 2017, 4:38 pm

      After such a shocking event, this comment has no place. Imagine the reaction of his young family. No need at all. Allow people to grieve. Freedom of speech is a luxury at such raw times.

  • Peter C Sunday, 23 April 2017, 8:28 pm

    It was with great sadness of hearing of Michele Scarponi passing.
    Forever he will be remembered as a hard worker, devoted father and loving husband.
    Never met the man, but there was a light to his being that will be forever missed, what so ever any short comings he had. Ride on

    • Sam G Monday, 24 April 2017, 1:53 pm

      Hear Hear

  • CA Sunday, 23 April 2017, 8:32 pm

    Thanks for the post Inrng – really highlights this man’s spirit and role as a family man. I’m so sad for his family for losing the man they clearly loved, especially as his retirement was coming closer and closer.

    RIP Michele and best of luck for his young family…

  • DaveS Sunday, 23 April 2017, 9:21 pm

    These guys are professional cyclists. They spend their lives riding their bikes, the road is their workplace. If they can’t stay safe, what chance do we have? RIP Michele, but we must all be aware of the danger we face every day . . .
    Take care out there everybody

  • Eskerrik Asko Sunday, 23 April 2017, 10:11 pm

    Scarponi’s death is no different from the death of any cyclist on a hobby ride or a commute or the death of any father of young children in a pointless traffic accident, but it is entirely human that it struck us deeper and more acutely.

    I had had a wonderful ride with friends in spring weather that changed rapidly from sunshine to hail. When I sat down, as part of my post-ride agenda to read the Inner Ring I got a glimpse of the tweet. Surely it must be some other rider named Scarponi. Not Michele Scarponi. Don’t let it be Michele Scarponi. I was gutted and I still am,

    The details about the accident only make it more tragic, poignant and cruel. To die because you want to be with your young family. Because you want to do a recovery ride and you want to be early, To die in your hometown just a few kilometers from home on a road you know well. To die because a driver makes a stupid ignorant mistake and breaks a rule of traffic law out of habit. To die days after winning a stage and days before captaining your team in the Giro, a high point late in your career.

    It has often been pointed out as a negative phenomenon that today people are more emotionally taken by the fates of public figures, celebrities or even fictional characters than those of people much closer to them. This may or may not be true, but I don’t think it should be seen solely as a proof of sorry development, it is not an unnatural reaction.

    I never knew Scarponi and I know my views of him are based on images and impresssions, but I miss him nevertheless. And I can share the tears shed or barely contained that I saw today on the face of Fuglsang or Valverde. I also miss the friends I have lost. I miss them all.

    • Tom Sunday, 23 April 2017, 10:28 pm

      Well said Eskerrik, I feel the same.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 23 April 2017, 10:33 pm

      I too found it hard to believe the news. The first thought was a prank from a joker but within a fraction of a second that seemed as stupid as it sounds. I went to check the regional press and it was all too true.

      Here was someone who descended the icy Colle dell’Agnello and took countless other risks during a career but died minutes from home which makes it only more raw. How many of us have gone for ride with a “see you later” to loved ones? A statement, a plan but sadly also a hope.

      • Struan Monday, 24 April 2017, 2:25 pm

        Add to the tragedy that the driver of the van was a known to the family, or at least Michele’s father : http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/scarponi-to-be-buried-in-his-cycling-kit/ .

        “The driver of the van was a 57-year-old local man. “We know each other well. I’ve lost a son, but I’m thinking of him too,” Scarponi’s father, Giacomo, said.”

        • Ecky Thump Monday, 24 April 2017, 4:39 pm

          +1 to this. I read a translation of the local paper this morning which said that also.
          Very very sad for the Scarponi family but also for the other gentleman involved too.

      • BenW Monday, 24 April 2017, 3:39 pm

        “How many of us have gone for ride with a “see you later” to loved ones? A statement, a plan but sadly also a hope.”

        Very much this. When Mum died in 2010, I said I’d said “see you tomorrow” before I went out the evening before. I did see her, but she was gone. Really sad news about Scarponi, I couldn’t believe it when your tweet popped up – a current pro, still somewhere near the very top of their game.

        Is it me or have the roads got far more dangerous for pro cyclists in training? You’ll be able to tell us but; off the top of my head; in recent years we’ve had the Giant boys skittled by a rental car, Wiggins knocked off his bike in his home town, this terrible incident. I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting, and these are of course disregarding the incidents in races of collisions with cars and motos.

      • James Cole Monday, 24 April 2017, 4:04 pm

        This sums this up for me. As a cyclist you are always actuely aware of the inbalance of power on the roads. That drivers are armoured by the steel shells they sit in, the tremendous grip their tyres offer, the excellent braking, air-bags, crumplezones, and then the irony that those steel shells become the weapons that can so easily snuff out a light, either someone like Scarponi, or someone like, well me.

        Of course its not cars that kill, its the drivers, and so news of every cyclist’s death gets added a seething sense of resentment that in the large majority of cases it is not caused by a mistake by the cyclist, instead they are killed by impatience. They are killed by distraction. They are killed by carelessness. They are killed because the driver is tired, or had sun in his eye, as was fiddling with their radio or phone, or eating a bowl of chuffing cornflakes. We have these machines that rend flesh readily and wantonly, which we allow the vast majority of the population access to, but fail to over see that, fail to hold drivers to sufficient standards of care. To many times in this country when a cyclist dies and it goes to court all the driver has to do is say ‘I didn’t see him guv’ and the jurors head will nod sagely, they can be hard to spot can’t they? When visibility is low, when it’s raining, when little Timmy throws a tantrum, when Brad from work texts, or when you’ve dropped a fifty pence under the seat and are scrabbling to find it.

        Sorry but this made me so angry, so angry again at the inattentiveness of motorists, 80% of which regularly break the speed limit, and probably the opposite know about driving safely around vulnerable road users. The roads are charnel pits, and Scarponi another victim of that. Sleep well Michele, know that you will be missed.

        • Alan Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 12:44 pm

          +1
          well written, I share your sentiment, but could never have expressed it so well.

    • GeorgeY Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 2:23 pm

      A stupid driver with a van killed a cyclist I loved for the second time in my life. The first time was when a friend of mine, in his early thirties, was killed while riding a Gran Fondo. Although we were not close friends, who only rode together sometimes, this tragedy left me felling as if I had lost a brother.

      Now that Michele Scarponi has died so tragically, the feelings came back, even though I never knew him, so I really know what you mean Eskerrik! My love for cycling has only increased in recent years, I still cycle to work everyday and ride during the weekends and love every minute, but these two losses left me with such a bitter taste that I am almost unable to put into words.

      RIP Scarpa!

  • Grand Buachaill Sunday, 23 April 2017, 11:26 pm

    Beautifully judged piece, inrng

  • gabriele Sunday, 23 April 2017, 11:42 pm

    For several personal reasons, I always had a feeling of familiarity towards Scarponi: time and geography and curious coincidences factored in throughout the last 15 years or so.

    He was obviously a person who really made a difference on the human level, besides an athlete way more significant than his palmarés shows. He was able to leave a mark, something way less common than this commonplace sentence.

    I’ve written more than enough about the safety question and I wouldn’t deem it proper to delve into it again on this page (unless other readers should create further debate).

    Yet, I need to add that at some point in time it would be due for whomever is involved in cycling to dedicate a strong, public reflection to the subject of safety – which depends heavily on laws and culture (including language) and is therefore the result of our collective activity as social agents. The way the figures vary a lot from country to country (staying consistent within each of them, while laws don’t change) should convince us that, up to a certain point, it’s not all about fate, nor about individual mistakes, which are ultimately produced within a given framework: a lot can be done to reduce fatalities – and if it isn’t, the chance of a deadly event are raised for every cyclist.
    All normalised to population and kms cycled, 100+ cycling lifes are lost every year for the mere fact of these people being riding in Italy and not in, say, France.

    As Eskerrik Asko said above, the death of a person like Scarponi has a similar impact as if it happened to someone really closer to us: thus, a public figures multiplies this sense of tragic reality through the conscience of million of people.
    It should prompt a shift, and I think we owe it to Scarponi himself, who was among the not-so-many pros to position himself openly in support of the campaign Salvaiciclisti right from its start, since five years ago.

  • Joe K. Monday, 24 April 2017, 2:16 am

    The timing, and the drama, of it all: the rare chance to lead the team at the Giro; finally winning a race for the first time in several years; the excitement of winning, and the rush to get home to give his boys the winner’s jersey; going out early to train so as to keep the good feelings in the legs, hoping it will last for two more weeks. These things we know make this all the more tragic.

  • Mike Monday, 24 April 2017, 2:48 am

    Sorry this happened Michele. The good die young. RIP and cycle the Cosmos.

  • Colin cox Monday, 24 April 2017, 6:17 am

    One of your best posts ever in ring, thanks!
    RIP
    Mike Hall
    Steve Tilford
    Michele Scarponi
    All brothers who died on the road this month.

  • thesteve4761 Monday, 24 April 2017, 8:08 am

    RIP.

    Not a good month so far.

  • Nick Monday, 24 April 2017, 9:16 am

    A well-judged post, thank you and well said.

  • JC Monday, 24 April 2017, 9:52 am

    As usual a well written post reflecting a very sad accident.

    Most summers my partner & I, along with many other northern Europeans, spend a few weeks in Toscana. Every Sunday the local cycling clubs are a common sight on the roads and many cycling tourists are in evidence puffing their way up the various hills.

    However the local road infrastructure is not good at all. For whatever reason the quality of the roads is nowhere near as good as in other countries. Far too many potholes, strange road design as well as the many narrow twisting roads means that even driving a car needs more concentration than elsewhere. Most drivers take care and attention but a few dont, taking risks and driving too fast. Not sure there are more of these folk than elsewhere but given the state of the roads accidents must be more likely. The needs of cyclists are most definitely not taken into account outside a few town centres.

    Despite the scenery and the obvious attractions of Toscana as a bike riding location, I for one would not ride a bike around these roads, the risks would be hardly mitigated by wearing a helmet.

    • Larry T Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 1:42 am

      Just to provide some perspective on your fear-mongering about cycling the roads of Tuscany, can you tell us a place where you WOULD ride a bike? Thanks.

  • Tim Monday, 24 April 2017, 2:45 pm

    This is sad on so many levels. RIP Michele. Thank you, Mr. Inrng, for this lovely, balanced, piece.

  • Spatz Monday, 24 April 2017, 3:13 pm

    Thanks for the article, any death is tragic but I really cant stop thinking about this, I didn’t have any special affinity for Michele, but for some unkown reason this has hit hard & Michele has left a very large hole. RIP

  • Miguel Monday, 24 April 2017, 4:21 pm

    Often, I come to INRG to find a race preview or course map, and it’s to my discredit that I forget what a good writer you are. Thank you for writing this.

  • dave o keeffe Monday, 24 April 2017, 4:31 pm

    Scarponi was both a character and an old time racer.Cycling in our modern era doesn’t like to be reminded of a past that was sometimes obvious too much.I hope people remember Scarponi and his children can read about him racing and about his loyalty towards team leaders in the latter part of his career.He seemed to have come to terms with his past.The past of a man can drag him down but sometimes less said bad the better for a persons legacy.He was riding so well in the last few years.I hope when his family read about him,they will read about his last win.The way he thought the young guys hope to race.Lets have good memories of him.The above article is honest.Thats part of him sadly, but its over now.Lets write well about someone.We own him that.

  • Pete Linsley Monday, 24 April 2017, 5:42 pm

    Thanks for a balanced and well considered obituary.

    Tragic loss – that goes without saying – and the universal response in the peloton, and the press, seems to much more about the man than the cyclist.

    And that’s how it should be, I think.

  • TomH Monday, 24 April 2017, 6:50 pm

    “As Scarponi rode out of town the builder made a left turn, driving right across the cyclist’s path and killing him on the spot.”

    An all too common occurrence. I know several cyclists who were hit like this, fortunately none had life threatening injuries.
    Many of us in So.Calif have been riding with very bright flashing headlights & taillights during daytime. As a motorist, I see it greatly improves visibility & awareness of cyclists from a very far distance.

    • STS Monday, 24 April 2017, 8:28 pm

      There’s a video on Youtube showing a computer simulation of the accident. It seems to be the kind of accident that can be avoided by a bright and flashing daytime headlight. Since I started using them front and rear some three years ago on every road ride, being sceptical at first, I noticed undoubtly the desired effect. And to an extent which really astounded me.
      Nowadays when each modern car and motorbike run daytime headlights all the time it’s obviously even more necessary for us cyclists to do every thing we can to become more visible in traffic.

      • Larry T Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 3:00 pm

        I’ll apologize in advance for this rant, but crap like “It seems to be the kind of accident that can be avoided by a bright and flashing daytime headlight.” just makes me mad. Classic blame the victim mentality. I could write “It seems to be the kind of accident that can be avoided by a driver paying attention to what the f__k he or she is doing” but that won’t bring Scarponi back. Has any motorist, after running over a cyclist said, “Well yes, I saw him, but I ran over him anyway?”

        • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 3:01 pm

          Let’s not argue in the comments about a dead cyclist who hasn’t been buried yet.

          • STS Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 6:01 pm

            If you found one of my comments inappropriate I would really appreciate if you let me know. You’ve got my e-mail-address.

  • md Monday, 24 April 2017, 7:49 pm

    Such sad news. It feels so wrong that Scarponi is dead. A fine strong climber and a rider who enriched our sport.

    Peace be with Michele Scarponi. May our sadness be a love that lights.

  • STS Monday, 24 April 2017, 11:33 pm

    Just saw that on Twitter https://twitter.com/DansLaMusette/status/856233268143894529. Unbelievably sad and touching at the same time.

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 9:55 am

    I see some Posters don’t quite respect Obituary!! shame on you.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 3:03 pm

      Sometimes people get upset, I did think about zapping a comment or two but it’s hard to moderate everything all the time. Hopefully people can refrain from verbal arguments here.

  • Richard S Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 11:18 am

    The last paragraph is very nicely written and underlines just how sad an incident this is. We’ve all gone out for an early morning training ride without a second thought. Scarponi comes across as a genuinely nice and popular man, and a good father. He had his faults just like all of us. Its a terrible shame his sons wont get the chance to see him leading his team at the Giro, I’m sure he’d have done them proud.

  • Roger Dungan Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 3:31 pm

    Nicely written piece; thanks for taking the time to write and share it. And great quote at the end.

  • CA Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 4:25 pm

    Thanks for the balanced piece and for taking the high road on certain issues of Scarponi’s past – the most important thing to remember and mourn is the man that his friends and family have loved and lost.

    Cheers to all today on his funeral.

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 10:36 pm

    Tuesday evening now and I cannot still believe what has happened, my thoughts go to his family, they must be in total shock, just awful.

  • RocksRootsRoad Wednesday, 26 April 2017, 9:27 am

    In the mid 90’s, I was taken down by a car in a similar fashion. I rolled over the bonnet and ended up in a ditch. Steel bike was totalled. This and so many other tragedies remind us daily how fragile we are. I kind of gave up on cycling after that but came back to the fold in 2008 through mountain biking. Now, majority of what I do is on the road and I would not swap it for the world.

    Scarponi’s death reminds me of all of this and the dangers we face as cyclists every day. Gabriele above is spot-on.

    The tweeted picture of his two sons is heart breaking.

  • Kjetil Thursday, 27 April 2017, 8:40 am

    Thank you som much for this piece, inrng.
    Also thank you commenters. The inrng comment section is bar a select few the only worth reading.

  • John Armstrong Friday, 28 April 2017, 1:36 pm

    Again superb writing on a terribly sad death of a true sporting personality. I always got the impression that he enjoyed his job and a great zest for life as a cyclist and human being. For me, the poignancy is his young children. The sad part of all this is that I am sure I am not alone in that a certain part of me does not want to share this story with my wife or children. Being a committed amateur racer, with a young family, I too go out on early morning rides to get back for the family. The training and dedication for this sport is incredibly selfish but to be reminded that you can die out training doing a sport you love is so close to home hence the poignancy here for everyone who has read the superb obituary. May you forever ride with a tailwind Michele.

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