Michele Scarponi

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Michele Scarponi
Michele Scarponi 2014 (cropped).jpg
Scarponi at the 2014 Tour de San Luis
Personal information
Full name Michele Scarponi
Nickname L'Aquila di Filottrano[1]
English: The Eagle of Filottrano
Born (1979-09-25)25 September 1979
Jesi, Marche, Italy
Died 22 April 2017(2017-04-22) (aged 37)
Filottrano, Marche, Italy
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Weight 63 kg (139 lb)[2]
Team information
Discipline Road
Role Climbing specialist
Domestique
Amateur team(s)
1988–1997 Pieralisi
1998–2000 Zalf Euromobil Fior
2001 Site–Frezza
Professional team(s)
2002 Acqua e Sapone–Cantina Tollo
2003–2004 Domina Vacanze–Elitron
2005–2006 Liberty Seguros–Würth
2007 Acqua & Sapone–Caffè Mokambo
2008–2010 Diquigiovanni–Androni
2011–2013 Lampre–ISD
2014–2017 Astana
Major wins

Grand Tours

Giro d'Italia
General classification (2011)
Points classification (2011)
3 individual stages (2009, 2010)

Stage races

Tirreno–Adriatico (2009)
Volta a Catalunya (2011)
Giro del Trentino (2011)

Michele Scarponi (25 September 1979 – 22 April 2017) was an Italian road bicycle racer, who rode professionally from 2002 until his death in 2017 for the Acqua e Sapone–Cantina Tollo, Domina Vacanze–Elitron, Würth, Acqua & Sapone–Caffè Mokambo, Androni Giocattoli, Lampre–Merida and Astana teams. He was declared the winner of the 2011 Giro d'Italia after the disqualification of Alberto Contador. Other major results of his career were the 2009 Tirreno–Adriatico, the 2011 Volta a Catalunya and the 2011 Giro del Trentino stage races.

Early life and amateur career[edit]

Scarponi was born on 25 September 1979 in the town of Jesi, in the central Italian region of Marche, to Giacomo and Flavia. He spent his childhood in Filottrano, Marche, with brother Marco and sister Silvia. His first bicycle was given to him at his First Communion. He joined the local cycling club Pieralisi aged eight, and began to win races. In 1997, at the age of seventeen, he became junior national road race champion; he made his winning move on the climb to Castello di Caneva (it) in the northern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. He was then given a place in the national team at the 1997 UCI Road World Championships in San Sebastián, Spain;[3] he took part in the junior road race, finishing in 104th position.[4]

In April 2001, riding for the Site–Frezza amateur team, Scarponi came second to Yaroslav Popovych in the Giro del Belvedere one-day race.[5] In April–May 2001, he won the fifth stage and came second overall in the Giro delle Regioni, again to Popovych.[6] In October, he participated in the under-23 time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Lisbon, Portugal, finishing in eighth place, 1 min 32.40 s behind the winner, American Danny Pate.[7]

Professional career[edit]

2002–2004: Turning professional[edit]

Scarponi turned professional in 2002 with the Acqua e Sapone–Cantina Tollo team, but they folded at the end of the season. He had taken his first victory with the team, winning a stage at the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda,[8] en route to a second-place finish overall, and made his debut at a Grand Tour, finishing in eighteenth at the 2002 Giro d'Italia.[9] Scarponi moved to the Domina Vacanze–Elitron team for the 2003 season; he won a stage at the Giro d'Abruzzo, coming third in the final classification, and finished in the top ten of the Amstel Gold Race (seventh) and Liège–Bastogne–Liège (fourth) – both races as part of the 2003 UCI Road World Cup.[10][11] He again finished in the top twenty at the Giro d'Italia (sixteenth),[12] and finished thirteenth at the Vuelta a España.[13]

Scarponi started the 2004 season with strong performances in the spring Italian stage races; he finished third overall with a stage win at the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali,[14] before winning the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda a couple of weeks later along with three stage wins, the points and mountains classifications. He again competed in all three Ardennes classics, taking fourth place at La Flèche Wallonne,[15] and seventh at Liège–Bastogne–Liège.[16] Forgoing the Giro d'Italia, Scarponi contested the Peace Race; he won the fourth stage in Germany after joining a late-stage move and took the sprint finish in Grünhain-Beierfeld.[17] He maintained the overall lead for the remainder of the race to its finish in Prague.[18] After a second-place finish at the Tour of Austria in June, Scarponi competed in the Tour de France for the first time; he finished in 32nd overall.[19]

2005–2006: Liberty Seguros–Würth[edit]

Scarponi riding for Liberty Seguros–Würth at the 2005 Giro d'Italia

Scarponi moved to the Spanish Liberty Seguros–Würth team for the 2005 season,[20] and had a quieter season than previous years; he did not win any races, despite his ambitions for the Giro d'Italia.[21] He finished seventh at the Vuelta a Burgos, and recorded his best Grand Tour finish to that point with eleventh at the Vuelta a España, riding largely as a domestique for Roberto Heras,[22] who was later disqualified after a positive doping test for erythropoietin (EPO).[23] In 2006, Scarponi was implicated in the Operación Puerto doping case.[24][25] This had some consequence on Scarponi's results; his best result was a fifth-place stage finish on the thirteenth stage of the Giro d'Italia,[26] a race he failed to finish for the first time; he failed to start the seventeenth stage the day after his team manager Manolo Saiz was arrested in relation to the Operación.[27] The Liberty Seguros–Würth cycling team folded at the end of the season, but Scarponi was able to secure a contract with Acqua & Sapone–Caffè Mokambo in February 2007.[28]

2007: Acqua & Sapone–Caffè Mokambo[edit]

After his late signing, Scarponi did not start his 2007 racing season until March's Clásica de Almería, finishing outside the time limit. He finished fifth at the Vuelta a Murcia and ninth at Tirreno–Adriatico, before moving on to the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali.[29] He won the second stage of the race into Faenza after attacking from the peloton with 1.6 kilometres (0.99 miles) remaining.[29] He entered the final day two seconds behind race leader Luca Pierfelici, but Pierfelici was dropped; with Scarponi finishing second to Riccardo Riccò in Sassuolo, Scarponi won the race overall by eight seconds ahead of Riccò, who also overhauled Pierfelici on the general classification.[30] After a fourth-place finish at the Giro d'Oro, Scarponi placed second to former teammate Damiano Cunego in the Giro del Trentino,[31] however, that was to be his final race of the season.

Thereafter, Scarponi was once again implicated in the Operación Puerto case. On 1 May, Scarponi met with the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome, regarding his apparent involvement in the Operación.[32] A week later, and a day after his compatriot Ivan Basso confessed to his involvement in Operación Puerto – as the rider codenamed "Birillo"[33] – Scarponi did likewise, confirming that he was both "Zapatero" and "Il Presidente" in another meeting with CONI.[34] On 15 May,[35] CONI requested that both riders be suspended; this request was granted the following day.[36] In July, Scarponi was given an 18-month ban, backdated to 15 May – the day in which CONI had requested Scarponi to be banned – and reduced from the normal two-year suspension due to his cooperation throughout the disciplinary proceedings.[37] In March 2008, following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the ban was lengthened to 21 months, but at the same time, also taking into effect periods of inactivity by Scarponi; therefore, he was eligible to race again from 1 August.[38]

2008–2010: Diquigiovanni–Androni[edit]

With Scarponi completing his ban, Diquigiovanni–Androni announced in June 2008 that they had signed him for the coming two seasons.[39][40] He returned to racing at the Giro dell'Appennino on 3 August, and recorded his best result of the 2008 season at the Giro dell'Emilia in October, finishing in seventh position.

2009[edit]

In 2009, Scarponi started his season with a fifth-place overall finish at the Vuelta a Andalucía, supporting Davide Rebellin's ultimately unsuccessful bid to win the race. After competing in the Italian Trofeo Laigueglia and Giro di Sardegna races in February, Scarponi moved on to the Tirreno−Adriatico. After a fourth-place finish in the fifth-stage time trial,[41] Scarponi won the sixth stage into Camerino; he had attacked on the climb to the Sassotetto ski resort,[42] and having been brought back to a small group, he managed to outlast Stefano Garzelli and Ivan Basso on the final climb into Camerino, reaching a gradient of 12% in places.[43] He avoided trouble in the final stage, to take his first victory at UCI World Ranking level, 25 seconds ahead of Garzelli.[44]

After contesting the Ardennes classics, Scarponi took aim at the Giro d'Italia, where he was one of the main domestiques for team leader Gilberto Simoni. After some pre-race encouragement from team manager Gianni Savio (it), Scarponi made it into the breakaway of the day on the sixth stage, which finished over the Italian–Austrian border in Mayrhofen.[45] Scarponi dropped his final breakaway companion, Vasil Kiryienka, about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the finish, and soloed to his first Grand Tour stage victory.[40] He also made it into the breakaway on the eighteenth stage; he was one of a septet of riders that broke clear from a larger group of twenty-five riders with 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) left to race, and they contested a final sprint for the stage win, which Scarponi prevailed in, to take his second win of the Giro d'Italia.[46] He ultimately finished 31st in the final general classification standings.[47] After the Giro d'Italia, Scarponi signed a one-year contract extension with the team until the end of 2010.[48] He contested a series of one-day races during the second half of the season, taking top tens at the Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia (ninth), the Coppa Ugo Agostoni (sixth) and the Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato, where he finished seventh.[49] Scarponi was selected for the UCI Road World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland,[50] where he failed to finish the road race.[51]

2010[edit]

Scarponi's fourth overall at the 2010 Giro d'Italia was the first time he finished in the top ten of a Grand Tour.[52]

Scarponi started 2010 with top tens at the Giro di Sardegna (seventh),[53] and ninth at the Classica Sarda in February,[54] before attempting to retain his Tirreno−Adriatico title. He took the race lead with victory in the fourth stage,[55] attacking with Vincenzo Nibali, before later dropping him on the run-in to Chieti. He then lost time to Stefano Garzelli on each of the next two stages held, and went into the final day just two seconds clear.[56] Garzelli's Acqua & Sapone team were able to lead their captain out to gain a second at each of the stage's two intermediate sprints, and with the stage suited to sprinters, was enough for Garzelli to take the race overall on countback.[57][58] He then competed in the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda, where he won the opening stage prologue,[59] a 6.6-kilometre (4.1 mi) time trial up the Colle Gallo (it). He finished second in two other stages, as he won overall by 22 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Riccardo Riccò.[60][61] In his last warm-up race before the Giro d'Italia, Scarponi finished fourth overall at the Giro del Trentino, missing a podium position by two seconds after Domenico Pozzovivo achieved enough of a gap to overhaul him with victory on the final stage.[62]

Scarponi led a team at a Grand Tour for the first time, leading the Androni Giocattoli team.[63] After rarely featuring in the first half of the race, Scarponi steadily worked his way up the general classification as the race hit the high mountains. He finished third on successive days, on stage 14 to Monte Grappa,[64] and stage 15 to Monte Zoncolan; on the latter stage, he had been in the lead group until he was distanced by Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso.[65] He remained eighth overall until he took a prestigious victory on stage 19, where he went clear of the field on the Mortirolo Pass with Liquigas–Doimo teammates, Nibali and Basso. Basso was attempting to take the overall lead, so Nibali and him made most of the work during the dangerous descent and subsequent uphill ride to Aprica, leaving Scarponi fresh enough to out sprint the pair.[66] Scarponi moved up to fourth overall[67] as a result; he moved to within a second of the overall podium the following day at the Tonale Pass, but ultimately finished thirteen seconds shy in fourth place,[52] after the final stage individual time trial in Verona.[68] He also finished fourth in the points classification and fifth in the mountains classification. With the exception of the Brixia Tour and the Vuelta a Burgos, Scarponi contested single-day races for the remainder of the season; he took three podium placings in the autumn, with a third-place finish at the Giro dell'Emilia,[69] and runner-up finishes at the Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato,[70] and also at World Ranking level − in his final ride for Androni Giocattoli[71] − in the Giro di Lombardia.[72]

2011–2013: Lampre–ISD[edit]

2011[edit]

Scarponi moved to Lampre–ISD for the 2011 season,[73] having signed a two-year contract with the team.[74] Scarponi made his début with the team at the Giro di Sardegna, where he won the final stage after a late attack; he finished in fourth place overall, missing out on the podium by eleven seconds.[75] His next race was Tirreno–Adriatico; he was seen as a contender for the race but not an overall favourite, due to his relatively weak performances in time trials.[76] After losing time in the race-opening team time trial, Scarponi won the fourth stage of the race to Chieti; along with five other riders, he went clear of the field on the final climb and with teammate Damiano Cunego also in the move to control the pace, Scarponi was able to pull further clear and despite fading towards the end, he held on for victory by a few bike lengths ahead of Cunego.[77] He finished third on the penultimate stage, and ultimately finished third overall behind Cadel Evans and Robert Gesink, while also winning the points classification for amassing the highest number of points during stages at intermediate sprints and stage finishes.[78]

Scarponi put in a notable performance at Milan–San Remo, the first Monument classic of the season. With the lead group a minute up the road, after missing a split in the field, Scarponi attacked on the Cipressa and was able to bridge the gap to the lead group.[79] He remained up-front with the group until the finish,[80] where he finished in sixth place – ultimately, his best result in the race. Scarponi then competed in the Volta a Catalunya several days later, finishing second in the overall standings behind Alberto Contador.[81] Prior to the Giro del Trentino, Scarponi trained at altitude at Mount Etna, where his room was searched by Italian police.[82] Scarponi won the Giro del Trentino; he broke clear with Thomas Voeckler on the final climb of the second stage, and the duo remained clear to the end, with Voeckler winning the sprint but Scarponi took the lead overall.[83] He maintained the lead for the rest of the race, winning it for the first time.[84] After the completion of the race, he reconnoitred more stages for Giro d'Italia, studying the stages due to be held in the Dolomites.[85]

Scarponi at the 2011 Giro d'Italia, a race he was retroactively awarded the victory of, following the disqualification of Alberto Contador's results in February 2012.

In the Giro, after a "satisfying" team time trial by the Lampre–ISD team on day one,[86] Scarponi almost won the seventh stage, finishing second to Bart De Clercq by a tyre's length, after trying to chase him down in the final kilometre.[87] The resultant time bonus put him within fourteen seconds of the race lead in fifth place.[88] Scarponi lost time on the ninth stage, the most difficult stage up to that point with the finish at Mount Etna; he had tried to follow an attack by Alberto Contador, but very quickly lost the pace, and ultimately lost 67 seconds to Contador. Commentators felt that Scarponi had been "left wanting both physically and tactically" and paid for his efforts on the climb,[89][90] but he did remain in fifth place overall. Lampre–ISD led the peloton in the closing stages of eleventh stage in anticipation of setting up Scarponi for the stage victory in Castelfidardo; however, John Gadret put in a surprise attack within the final kilometre, and ultimately won the stage. Scarponi finished eighth on the stage, but praised his team, mentioning Alessandro Petacchi in particular, for their hard work at the front of the race for much of the day.[91] He reached the halfway point of the Giro in fifth position, 88 seconds behind race leader Contador.[92] Before the second rest day of the race, there was a triumvirate of high-mountain, summit finishes in the Dolomites (stages thirteen to fifteen), at the Grossglockner in Austria, Monte Zoncolan and Gardeccia (it).[93]

Scarponi was an early attacker on the first of these,[94] but was unable to make much ground; Contador finished second to José Rujano on the stage, and padded his lead by almost two minutes – Scarponi moved into third overall, trailing by three-and-a-quarter minutes.[95] At the Zoncolan, Scarponi initially followed Igor Antón and Contador up the climb, but was not able to hold onto their pace, and as a result, was overtaken by Nibali, who had approached from the group trailing behind. Scarponi lost another fifty seconds to Contador, and fell to fourth place overall, as Antón moved ahead of him.[96] Scarponi was much closer to Contador on the Gardeccia climb, losing just fourteen seconds; however, he finished well ahead of both Antón and Nibali, and moved into second place in the overall classification.[97][98] With Contador so far clear, much of the race's focus shifted to the battle for second position between Scarponi and Nibali. The climbing time trial of stage 16 saw Scarponi lose just four seconds to Nibali as he tried to limit his losses ahead of the final stage test against the clock.[99] Nibali closed in by 13 seconds – to 34 seconds – on stage 19,[100] but lost the ground he had gained the following day as he was gapped by the Scarponi–Contador group, losing 22 seconds up to the finish at Sestriere.[101] While a lesser time trialist than Nibali, Scarponi lost only ten seconds over the 26-kilometre (16 mi) distance, comfortably sealing second overall by forty-six seconds; he deemed himself to be "satisfied" with his overall performance over the Giro, despite finishing over six minutes behind Contador.[102]

Scarponi also contested the Vuelta a España later in the season, again leading the Lampre–ISD team.[103] He finished second to Joaquim Rodríguez on the eighth stage,[104] but was not a major factor in the general classification; he abandoned on stage 14, trailing the overall leader Bradley Wiggins by over 24 minutes.[105] In February 2012, Contador was stripped of his victories in the Volta a Catalunya and the Giro d'Italia,[106] after a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.[107] With Scarponi finishing second in both 2011 races, he was retrospectively promoted to first position.[108][109]

2012[edit]

Scarponi's first stage race of the season was March's Tirreno–Adriatico, where he featured less prominently compared to previous years, finishing seventh overall.[110] Scarponi then moved on to the Tour of the Basque Country, where he was part of the lead group on the final climb of the third stage to Eibar, before fading down to seventh place on the stage.[111] He ultimately finished the race in eighth place overall.[112] Later in April, Scarponi finished sixth in the Giro dell'Appennino,[113] and added another eighth place at Liège–Bastogne–Liège.[114] Having been promoted to the 2011 victory earlier in the year, Scarponi was therefore in a position to defend his Giro d'Italia title in May,[115] leading the Lampre–ISD nonet with support from Damiano Cunego as a main domestique.[116]

Scarponi before the start of the fifth stage of the 2012 Giro d'Italia

After losing time in both time trials held within the first four stages,[117] Scarponi advanced on the race's first summit finish – stage seven – at Rocca di Cambio. Lampre–ISD held station at the front of the peloton before the climb, with Przemysław Niemiec protecting Scarponi, before Scarponi made an attack on the climb, with Astana's Paolo Tiralongo going with him; Scarponi held the lead until the final corner, when Tiralongo came around the outside of him, to take the victory.[118] Scarponi moved into the top ten of the overall classification definitively after stage 14, and worked his way into the top five three stages later, with a sixth-place finish on stage 17 finish. Scarponi was one of a lead group of six riders that remained on the Giau Pass; he was dropped towards the top of the climb along with Rigoberto Urán, but they both made it back into the lead group on the descent into Cortina d'Ampezzo.[119][120] On stage 19 finishing on the Pampeago Pass (it), Scarponi tried to breach the group of overall contenders on the final climb, but was unable to do so.[121] He ultimately finished the stage in fourth place, but moved up to third overall.[122]

The race's penultimate stage, was also its queen stage; five categorised climbs were on the parcours, the last two of which being the first-category Mortirolo Pass and the Cima Coppi super-category Stelvio Pass, where the stage finished atop.[123][124] On the Stelvio, Ryder Hesjedal lifted the pace to such an intensity that only Joaquim Rodríguez and Scarponi could follow.[125] Inside the final 5 kilometres (3.1 miles), Scarponi launched forward, and was closely followed by Rodríguez, with no movement from Hesjedal. Rodríguez managed to catch and pass Scarponi for fourth on the stage, but with Thomas De Gendt closing in by nearly four minutes after winning the stage, Scarponi held an advantage of just under half a minute,[126] going into the final time trial. De Gendt was expected to take the podium placing due to him being more proficient in the discipline than Scarponi.[127] De Gendt was first to take to the stage, recording a time of 34' 07" – good enough for a fifth-place stage finish – and was more than enough to move ahead of Scarponi, who recorded a time of exactly 35 minutes.[128] Therefore, Scarponi finished fourth overall with Hesjedal taking the overall win.[129]

After the Giro d'Italia, Scarponi signed a one-year extension to his contract – signing until the end of the 2013 season[130] – before he then decided to focus on the Tour de France,[131] a race he had not contested since 2004.[132] Scarponi lost over two minutes on the sixth stage, after being delayed by an incident that became known as the "Metz Massacre",[133] where numerous riders hit the tarmac.[134] Trailing by over ten minutes after the ninth stage time trial, Scarponi featured in the following day's breakaway.[135] After the group broke apart on the Col du Grand Colombier, Scarponi was one of five riders that remained clear to the end of the stage, but finished second behind Thomas Voeckler at the finish in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.[136] Scarponi was not a factor in the second part of the race, and ultimately finished in 24th overall,[52] almost an hour down on winner Bradley Wiggins.[137]

Scarponi was temporarily suspended by his team in November 2012 after he admitted performing tests with Michele Ferrari, a doctor whose name has been linked to numerous cases of doping in cycling.[138] His salary at the time was disclosed, which was 700,000 a year.[139] The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) requested a three-month ban for Scarponi,[140] along with Giovanni Visconti, for working with Ferrari; this was finalised on 12 December 2012, along with a €10,000 fine, backdated to 1 October 2012. This meant that Scarponi was able to race again from the start of the 2013 season.[141]

2013[edit]

The 2013 Volta a Catalunya final general classification podium; Scarponi was third, behind Dan Martin and Joaquim Rodríguez, respectively.

Despite being cleared to race, Scarponi did not start his season until the very end of February, finishing ninth at the Gran Premio Città di Camaiore. He had two placings inside the top ten at Paris–Nice, before moving on to the Volta a Catalunya. Scarponi had been fifth going into the final stage in Barcelona, but he bridged across a 20-second gap to reach three race leaders. There, he remained and ultimately finished the stage in fourth position; a 21-second gap to the peloton enabled him to move up two places into third overall, passing Nairo Quintana and Bradley Wiggins.[142] After contesting the Giro del Trentino, Scarponi continued his warmup to the Giro d'Italia with his fourth top-ten finish at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, finishing in fifth place after missing in a sprint with Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Betancur.[143]

He then focused on the Giro d'Italia where he again led Lampre–Merida.[144] He only breached the top ten in stage results once during the first half of the race, but never dropped lower than sixth after the eighth stage; he ultimately finished fourth overall, the same place as he finished in 2010 and 2012.[52][145] After competing in the Tour de Suisse, Scarponi went on to compete in the National Road Race Championships, held on the course of the Trofeo Melinda. Scarponi was part of a three-man move that stayed clear until the end of the race, along with Ivan Santaromita and Davide Rebellin; Scarponi was able to get the better of Rebellin in the finish, but was out-sprinted by Santaromita who went on to win the tricolour jersey.[146] Scarponi then continued his progression towards the Vuelta a España, by competing in the Tour de Pologne.

Scarponi finished 15th overall in the Vuelta a España, taking a best stage placing of second on the fifteenth stage at Peyragudes; he had been part of a 28-man breakaway, but was the last rider to remain clear of the field, after Alexandre Geniez had finished three minutes ahead as the stage winner.[147] Thereafter, Scarponi won the delayed Gran Premio della Costa Etruschi, his first success since his belated 2011 Giro d'Italia victory; he had attacked from the lead group with one kilometre (0.62 mi) to go and led home a rare 1–2–3 success for his team, as Diego Ulissi and Filippo Pozzato completed the podium.[148] Scarponi was selected for the UCI Road World Championships in Florence, Italy, where he finished sixteenth – and second-best Italian behind Vincenzo Nibali – in the road race.[149] He finished the season with an eighth-place finish at the Giro dell'Emilia,[150] but elected not to extend his contract with Lampre–Merida.

2014–2017: Astana[edit]

Scarponi (right) at the 2014 Tour de France, riding in support of Astana teammate Vincenzo Nibali, who won the overall general classification

For the 2014 season, Scarponi moved to the Astana squad,[151] signing an initial one-year contract.[152] His first race with the team was at January's Tour de San Luis, before recording top ten finishes in three stage races during the spring: he was ninth at both the Vuelta a Andalucía and Tirreno–Adriatico, and finished a place higher at the Giro del Trentino.[153] He was selected as the team leader for the Giro d'Italia,[151] and was named as one of the pre-race favourites for the general classification;[154][155] Scarponi was "optimistic" of his chances at the race.[156] He crashed on stage six,[157] losing almost two minutes and he lost another ten minutes two stages later,[158] as the team leadership started to move towards Fabio Aru; Scarponi ultimately withdrew from the race on stage sixteen.[159] At the Tour de France, he was a key domestique for the overall winner, Vincenzo Nibali.[160]

Scarponi remained with Astana into the 2015 season. He led the squad at the Tour of the Basque Country, where he finished sixth overall,[161] as well as finishing two stages in sixth place. He and Nibali both took part in the Tour de Romandie, where Scarponi just missed out on a top ten overall result – to Nibali – by eight seconds.[162] At the Tour de France he again rode in support of Nibali,[163] who placed fourth overall.[164] At the Vuelta a Burgos, he was part of the squad that won the team time trial on the second stage,[165] and with two other fourth-place stage finishes, Scarponi finished in second place overall, two seconds behind teammate Rein Taaramäe.[166]

In September 2015,[167] it was announced that Scarponi had again extended his contract for a further year with Astana. He again started his season at the Tour de San Luis, before moving on to the spring Italian stage races. He failed to finish Tirreno–Adriatico, failing to start the final time trial stage after fracturing his collarbone the previous day.[168] He missed a month of racing as the injury healed, and returned to competition at the Giro del Trentino. Astana won the race-opening time trial, and Scarponi was mainly used as a domestique, with Tanel Kangert winning the final two stages in the race. Scarponi ultimately finished the race fourteenth overall.[169] At the Giro d'Italia, he was a key domestique for the overall winner Vincenzo Nibali,[170] helping him come from nearly five minutes down in the overall classification, to win the race by 52 seconds from Esteban Chaves.[171] He competed in the Tour de Suisse, before a mid-summer break, where he announced another 12-month contract extension for 2017.[172] As a warm-up for the Vuelta a España, Scarponi competed at the Vuelta a Burgos, where as they had done in 2015, Astana won the team time trial.[173] Scarponi led his team at the Vuelta, taking three top ten stage finishes, but missed out on a top ten placing overall, finishing in eleventh place.[174]

Scarponi started the 2017 season by competing in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Volta ao Algarve races in February, finishing in the top twenty of them both.[175][176] He then contested Tirreno–Adriatico, finishing fifteenth overall,[177] before moving on to the Tour of the Alps, the successor to the Giro del Trentino with its additional foray into Austria. On the opening stage, Scarponi formed part of an elite group that had moved clear on the final climb in Hungerburg, Austria.[178] Scarponi had the strongest finish, as he out-sprinted the remaining members of the group, taking his first individual victory since his 2013 Gran Premio della Costa Etruschi success.[179][180] He finished the race in fourth position overall.[181]

Death[edit]

Scarponi died on 22 April 2017, after being hit by a van, while riding his bicycle, close to his home in Filottrano.[181][182] He had competed in the 2017 Tour of the Alps only the day before.[183] He was riding along the SP 362 provincial road (Via dell'Industria), one kilometre (0.62 mi) from the town centre. Following on from the Tour of the Alps, Scarponi was training for the 2017 Giro d'Italia, where he was due to lead the Astana team, after Fabio Aru withdrew due to injury.[184] The crash occurred around 08:00 local time; he was hit at a junction (Via Schiavoni) by an Iveco Daily driven by a 57-year-old local craftsman, who – according to statements made to the carabinieri (Italian police) – did not see Scarponi.[185][186] He was known to Scarponi's father Giacomo, who said: "We know each other well. I've lost a son, but I'm thinking of him too."[186]

In the following days, tributes were made for him at professional races, first at the Tour of Croatia the next day with a minute's silence, and then the Liège–Bastogne–Liège the day after with a round of applause. In both races riders wore black armbands.[187][188] Alejandro Valverde won Liège–Bastogne–Liège and gave his prize money to Scarponi's family.[189] Former teammate and close friend Vincenzo Nibali dedicated his overall victory of the Tour of Croatia to Scarponi.[190] A minute's silence was also observed before the JuventusGenoa Serie A football match in Turin.[191] His funeral took place on 25 April at Filottrano's football stadium, attended by an estimated 5,000 mourners. The service was officiated by cardinal Edoardo Menichelli.[192]

On 30 April 2017, it was announced that Astana would ride the Giro d'Italia with only eight riders, in honour of Scarponi.[193] The Giro d'Italia dedicated stage sixteen's Mortirolo Pass climb – which played a part in his final stage victory of the race in 2010 – to Scarponi, giving the rider who passes first double points in the mountains classification.[194]

Personal life[edit]

Scarponi was married to Anna Tommasi, with whom he had twin boys, Giacomo and Tommaso.[181][195]

Career achievements[edit]

Major results[edit]

Source:[57][196][197]

1997
1st MaillotItalia.svg Junior National Road Race Championship
3rd Grand Prix Rüebliland
2001
1st Memorial Danilo Furlan
2nd Overall Giro delle Regioni
1st Stage 5
2nd Giro del Belvedere
4th Trofeo PIVA
8th Under-23 time trial, UCI Road World Championships
2002
1st Stage 4 Giro del Trentino
2nd Overall Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda
1st Stage 3b (ITT)
8th Overall Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali
2003
1st Gran Premio Fred Mengoni
3rd Overall Giro d'Abruzzo
1st Jersey green.svg Points classification
1st Stage 3
4th Liège–Bastogne–Liège
6th Overall Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali
7th Amstel Gold Race
9th Züri-Metzgete
2004
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Peace Race
1st Stages 4, 6 & 7
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda
1st Jersey violet.svg Points classification
1st Jersey green.svg Mountains classification
1st Stages 1, 2 & 4
2nd Overall Tour of Austria
3rd Overall Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali
1st Stage 4
4th La Flèche Wallonne
7th Liège–Bastogne–Liège
2005
7th Overall Vuelta a Burgos
2006
6th Overall Vuelta a Castilla y León
2007
1st Jersey green.svg Overall Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali
1st Stage 2
2nd Overall Giro del Trentino
4th Giro d'Oro
5th Overall Vuelta a Murcia
9th Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
2008
7th Giro dell'Emilia
2009
Giro d'Italia
1st Stages 6 & 18
1st Jersey blue.svg Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stage 6
5th Overall Vuelta a Andalucía
6th Coppa Ugo Agostoni
7th Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato
9th Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia
2010
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda
1st Prologue
2nd Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stage 4
2nd Giro di Lombardia
2nd Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato
3rd Giro dell'Emilia
4th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 19
4th Overall Giro del Trentino
7th Overall Giro di Sardegna
9th Classica Sarda
10th Coppa Ugo Agostoni
10th Giro di Toscana
2011
1st Jersey pink.svg Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Jersey red.svg Points classification
1st MaillotVolta.png Overall Volta a Catalunya
1st Stage 3
1st Jersey pink.svg Overall Giro del Trentino
3rd Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stage 4
4th Overall Giro di Sardegna
1st Stage 5
6th Milan–San Remo
2012
4th Overall Giro d'Italia
6th Giro dell'Appennino
7th Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
8th Overall Tour of the Basque Country
8th Liège–Bastogne–Liège
2013
1st Gran Premio della Costa Etruschi
2nd Road race, National Road Championships
3rd Overall Volta a Catalunya
4th Overall Giro d'Italia
5th Liège–Bastogne–Liège
8th Giro dell'Emilia
10th Gran Premio Città di Camaiore
2014
8th Overall Giro del Trentino
9th Overall Vuelta a Andalucía
9th Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
2015
2nd Overall Vuelta a Burgos
1st Stage 2 (TTT)
6th Overall Tour of the Basque Country
2016
1st Stage 1 (TTT) Giro del Trentino
1st Stage 2 (TTT) Vuelta a Burgos
2017
4th Overall Tour of the Alps
1st Stage 1

Grand Tour general classification results timeline[edit]

Source:[52]

Grand Tour 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
A pink jersey Giro d'Italia 18 16 47 DNF 31 4 1 4 4 DNF 16
A yellow jersey Tour de France 32 24 49 41
A red jersey Vuelta a España 13 11 DNF 15 11
Legend
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish

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External links[edit]