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Michele Scarponi's training partner parrot returns to place where rider lost his life

Cyclist magazine
24 Apr 2017

In a saddening image, Frankje the parrot can be seen at the place where the rider was killed during a training ride

Astana rider Michele Scarponi tragically died on Saturday after being killed in a road traffic accident during a training ride close to his home.

The rider, who was due to lead his Astana team at the Giro next month, leaves behind a wife and two children, and a world of cycling that remains in mourning for someone whose presence as a rider and as a person was felt and appreciated by many.

In a heartbreaking image captured at the place where Scarponi lost his life, the parrot 'Frankje', who found fame by taking an interest in the Astana rider while he was out training, can be seen perched above the flowers dedicated to him. 

Whether its a toy parrot that has been placed in memoriam, or the real life Frankje, the image remains as poignant.

Before his death, many an upload to social media from Scarponi showed Frankje flying alongside as he rode, the bird's blue and yellow feathers mirroring that of the Astana rider's kit. 

a ruota di Frankje %uD83D%uDE18%uD83C%uDF8A%uD83C%uDF7E

A post shared by Michele Scarponi (@michele.scarponi) on

Scarponi's training encounters with Frankje struck a chord with people for the way it showed the fun-loving, affable side to the rider's nature that he was known for, and so the sight of the parrot mourning alongside the rest of the cycling community provides a moving image. 

Michele Scarponi is due to be buried tomorrow, in his cycling kit.

'The bike was his life, we’ll say goodbye to him dressed as a cyclist,' said his widow Anna Tommasi. 

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