Michele Scarponi, the 2011 Giro d'Italia champion, has been killed after being hit by a van while training close to his home in Filottrano, Italy, his Astana team said on Saturday.
Scarponi, 37, left home early on Saturday morning for a training ride. The accident happened at a crossroads.
"This is a tragedy too big to be written," Astana said in a statement in English.
"We left a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation, he was ... a landmark for everyone in the Astana Pro Team."
He started his professional career in 2002 and his best results were in Italian races, winning three stages on the Giro before being handed the 2011 title after Alberto Contador was stripped of his victory because of a retroactive doping ban.
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