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by Mark Zalewski
April 26, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Felline wins Tour de Romandie opener; French rider Yoann Offredo assaulted while training; Memories of Michele: Scarponi remembered as an entertainer, a motivator and as a warm human being; British Cycling cuts places in podium programme due to funding cuts; Lotto Soudal announces Giro roster; Tour of Britain announces 2017 route; USA Cycling publishes 2016 ‘Race Clean’ report; Eurosport announces new host for Giro, Tour; Former British pro Phil Edwards dies; Jonathan Tiernan-Locke given driving ban for drunk driving; Club rider warns of imitation sunglasses after crash; TRINITIES Part 3: Liège–Bastogne–Liège; Video: Mile 1 – Into the light.
If Saturday brought the shock, the news that Michele Scarponi had been struck by a van and killed while on a training ride, Tuesday is when cold reality sinks in. The funeral of the 2011 Giro d’Italia champion took place in Filottrano and was attended by his Astana team and staff plus many others from the world of cycling.
Scarponi’s passing is one which seems to have affected many, even those who never met him. The death of any young person seems wrong, but video clips of Scarponi showed someone who was full of life and passion, who had a laugh when he could and who showed a more multi-faceted character than many professional athletes. Not for him the ultra-serious approach: while he could be very disciplined, he also took time to smile, to laugh, to lighten the moment and to remind others that it is only a sport.
Perhaps this is why there is such affection for him from cycling fans, even those who were dismayed by his involvement in Operaction Puerto, and his later relationship with Dr. Michele Ferrari. He made mistakes, but was also a very charismatic human being.
The famous video clips of him training with a neighbour’s macaw Franky seem to bring that home particularly well. He had a bond with the parrot, who would fly alongside him, land on his back, peck at his helmet and bring a smile to all those who saw the clips.
Many riders have had their say on social media in recent days, celebrating Scarponi’s life. CyclingTips spoke to four others who crossed paths with him earlier in his career; a race organiser, a journalist, a press officer and a former teammate from his time as an amateur rider. Each of those gave their own perspective on what happened as well as their own insights into the charismatic Italian.
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