Astana rider Scarponi dies after collision with van

Updated: 

Astana rider Michele Scarponi died following a collision with a van while training on Saturday, the team have announced.

The Italian, 37, was hit by the vehicle at a crossroads while out on a ride near his home in Filottrano. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

An Astana statement read: "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 hit by a van on a crossroads.

"Michele finished fourth in the Tour of the 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 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 milestone and a landmark for everyone in the Astana Pro Team.

"The Astana Pro Team clings to Michele's family in this incredibly painful moment of sorrow and mourning."

Scarponi was presented with the maglia rosa for the 2011 Giro d'Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title in February of the following year for doping.

He was named leader of Astana for this year's Giro after Fabio Aru was forced to pull out with a knee injury.

Scarponi triumphed in stage one of the Tour of the Alps on Monday before finishing fourth.