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by Shane Stokes
October 10, 2017
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Michele Scarponi (l) and his Astana teammate and friend Vincenzo Nibali. Photo by Kristof Ramon.
Shortly after Michele Scarponi was hit by a van and killed while training last April, his father Giacomo was quoted as saying that despite his personal devastation, that he also had the driver in his thoughts. “We know each other well,” he said of the 57-year-old local who was behind the wheel. “I’ve lost a son, but I’m thinking of him too.”
Almost six months later, another element has been reported in the case which, if verified, adds an even more tragic thread to the story. According to Tuttobiciweb, the driver made a rumoured admission that he was distracted by a video playing on his mobile phone.
The 2011 Giro d’Italia winner Scarponi was training near his home town on April 22 when he was struck by the van. He had been doing a recovery ride following his strong performance in the Tour of the Alps, where he won the opening stage and finished fourth overall.
“This is a tragedy too big to be written,” his Astana team said in a statement then. “Our athlete Michele Scarponi died this morning while he was training on his bike close to his home in Filottrano. Michele has been hit by a van on a crossroad.”
A trial in relation to the case is due to begin soon in the provincial capital Ancona. The driver had initially said that his vision was was impaired by the morning sun. If, as reported, he has now changed his story to admit watching his phone screen, it could have additional and serious consequences for him.