Cycling star Michele Scarponi dies in training crash aged 37

Fiona Simpson
Sad death: Michele Scarponi has died aged 37: EPA

Cycling star Michele Scarponi has died aged 37 following a crash with a van during training.

The Italian’s team Astana confirmed his death in a statement.

A spokesman said the crash happened close to Scarponi's home in Filottrano.

Scarponi won the 2011 Giro d'Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title and claimed victory in stage one of the Tour of the Alps on Monday.

"This is a tragedy too big to be written," the statement read.

The team described Scarponi as a "great champion" and a "special guy", adding: "The Astana Pro Team clings to the Michele family in this incredibly painful moment of sorrow and mourning."

Scarponi leaves behind a wife and two children.