Tirreno-Adriatico paid tribute to former pro Michele Scarponi, who was tragically killed in an accident last year, in an emotional display during Sunday’s stage 5.
The day’s spoils would go to Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates who took his first win of the season but the day will be remembered for the tributes paid to Scarponi by former colleagues and the residents of Filottrano, his hometown, where the stage finished.
The Italian town was decked out in blue and yellow, the colours of Astana, the team Scarponi was riding for at the time of his death on 22 April 2017. Residents packed the streets and held balloons in memory of the Italian rider who won the race in 2009.
Adam Yates ha vinto la Tappa 5 della Tirreno Adriatico #NamedSport: frazione dedicata a Michele Scarponi, con finale nella sua Filottrano. | @AdamYates7 has claimed the stage organized in the memory of Michele Scarponi. #TirrenoAdriatico pic.twitter.com/eKLfQOHafc
— Tirreno Adriatico (@TirrenAdriatico) March 11, 2018
Astana rider, Dario Cataldo, a close friend of Scarponi’s, paid tribute to his former teammate by trying to win the stage in his honour. The 32-year-old spent the whole day in the breakaway and very nearly pulled off what would have been the most special of wins before being caught with 11km to go on the 178km stage.
— Astana Pro Team (@AstanaTeam) March 11, 2018
Scarponi was known for keeping a somewhat unusual training partner. He would frequently be joined on training rides by his pet macaw, Frankie. In touching scenes, Frankie the macaw turned out to see the cycling world honour his former owner.
Frankie was at the finish today, but, unfortunately, Michele Scarponi wasn't… We all miss a great rider and a great person, full of joy, always with a smile on his face. I miss the nice talks we used to have on and off the bike! #TirrenoAdriatico2018 pic.twitter.com/Gr5PMdOmQ4
— Maciej Bodnar (@maciejbodnar) March 11, 2018
Scarponi was involved in a collision with a van on a training ride on 22 April last year. The rider had left his home in Filottrano early in the morning as he was preparing to lead Astana at that year’s Giro.
The investigation into his death was ended in February after the driver of the van involved in the incident died.