To honor the memory of our Italian rider Michele Scarponi, who tragically died last week while training, Astana Proteam renounces to substitute the designated captain and will ride the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia with 8 riders instead of 9.

– What has happened to Michele is a real tragedy that no one could expect or face out. It is a huge blow for the whole team. Michele should have been our leader for the Giro and in this reason we decided not to substitute Michele in the line-up for the race, leaving his race number free. Every day in this Giro d’Italia as well as in all other races Michele will be with us and day by day we will ride trying to honor his memory, fighting and smiling as he taught us all to do, – said general manager of the team Alexandr Vinokurov.

The complete roster of Astana Proteam for the 100th Giro d’Italia is: Pello Bilbao, Zhandos Bizhigitov, Dario Cataldo, Jesper Hansen, Tanel Kangert, Luis Leon Sanchez, Paolo Tiralongo and Andrey Zeits. The team will be directed by Alexandr Shefer, Giuseppe Martinelli and Stefano Zanini.

– I think, this is right decision and I am sure the organizers of the Giro d’Italia as well as the whole cycling community will accept and understand it. Obviously, this will not the only initiative that Astana Proteam is promoting to remember Michele and also to help his family. We initiated such an important thing as the fundraiser for his family, while many others will be developed in the next weeks and months, – added Alexandr Vinokurov.