Cyclist Scarponi dies in van collision

    Italian cycling champ Michele Scarponi died after being hit by a van Saturday while training in central Italy

    Story highlights

    • He had finished fourth in Tour of Alps on Friday
    • Mourned as 'one of the nicest guys'

    (CNN)Italian cyclist Michele Scarponi, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2011, died in a road collision while training Saturday morning, his Astana Pro Team said in a statement.

    Scarponi, 37, was struck by a van near his home in Filottrano in Italy's Le Marche region.
      He was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Tour of Alps Friday afternoon in Trento, the team said, before returning home to his family. On Saturday morning, Scarponi went out for a training ride when he was hit at a crossroad.
      In their statement, the team mourned the loss of "a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation... He was a landmark for everyone in the Astana Pro Team."
      A member of the cycling Team  kneels by a sheet partially covering Scarponi's bike after the incident
      Scarponi was named the winner of the 2011 Giro d'Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of victories in connection with a doping scandal.
      British cyclist Mark Cavendish tweeted that Scarponi was "one of the nicest guys you could ever meet."
        Contador tweeted he was left "speechless" by the news, and he recalled Scarponi always had a smile that was contagious.
        Survivors include a wife and two children.