Kazakh team pay tribute to Italian rider who was killed in a training crash last week

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Astana will start the Giro d’Italia with eight riders instead of nine after Michele Scarponi, the man who was meant to lead the team, was killed in a training crash last week..

Alexander Vinokourov, the team’s general manager, said that the team felt it was the right decision not to replace Scarponi in the starting line up, saying that riders and staff will have the Italian rider in their memories throughout the race.

>>> Michele Scarponi, 1979-2017: a ‘devastating and sad loss’ to the cycling world

“What has happened to Michele was a real tragedy,” Vinokourov said.

“It is a huge blow for the whole team. Michele should have been our leader for the Giro and for this reason we decided not to replace Michele in the line-up, leaving his race number free.

“I think this is the right decision and I am sure the organisers of the Giro d’Italia as well as the whole cycling community will accept and understand it.”

>>> Giro d’Italia 2017 start list

Of the eight riders who will race for Astana at the Giro, Tanel Kangert looks like the team’s best bet for a general classification rider, having finished just outside the top ten in the race in 2013 and 2015.

Full Astana team for the Giro d’Italia:

Pello Bilbao
Zhandos Bizhigitov
Dario Cataldo
Jesper Hansen
Tanel Kangert
Luis Leon Sanchez
Paolo Tiralongo
Andrey Zeits