Michele Scarponi: Killed by driver who was 'distracted by video playing on smartphone'

Reports suggest driver who killed Michele Scarponi was watching a video on his phone when the fatal collision occurred

Michele Scarponi
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

The driver who hit and killed professional rider Michele Scarponi (Astana) in April was distracted by watching a video on his smartphone, according to new reports ahead of the trial in central Italy

The Italian team Astana rider, who had left for a pre-Giro d'Italia training ride at around 8am, died instantly just a few kilometres from his home in Filottrano, central Italy.

The trial of the driver – a 57-year-old carpenter – will begin soon in Marche's provincial capital, Ancona. According to a report from Tutto Bici, the driver admitted to investigators that he was watching a video on his smartphone.

On the day of the incident, April 22, the driver reportedly told police that the early morning sun had blinded him and he never saw the 2011 Giro winner.

>>> Watch: Michele Scarponi’s farewell interview (video)

The driver is from the same small town of 9,745 people as Scarponi.

The negligent vehicular homicide case could intensify if the reports that the driver was watching his smartphone instead of the road prove to be true.

Scarponi, 37, left behind his wife Anna and four-year-old twins, Giacomo and Tommaso. He had been selected to lead the Astana team in the Giro after Fabio Aru pulled out of selection due to an injured knee.

Just the week before the fatal collision, Scarponi took his first victory in four years in the Innsbruck stage of the Tour of the Alps.

The Astana team raced the Giro without a replacement. Instead of nine riders, they began the 2017 edition with eight. The Giro organiser dedicated the Mortirolo climb to Scarponi.

Aru wore one of Scarponi's jerseys when he raced in the Italian Championships as a sign of respect.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.