Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, on Saturday 9th March met with participants in the Annual Congress of the European Cycling Union, telling them they bear witness “to the potential of the human being, created in the image and likeness of God”, according to the Vatican News website.
Addressing participants in the Annual Congress of the European Cycling Union, which is also hosting the Assembly of the African Cycling Confederation, Pope Francis noted the strong relationship between Sport and the Church. He also emphasised how sport can foster excellence because it teaches perseverance, sacrifice, and self-denial. The Pope continued by saying that “sport often becomes an opportunity to express with enthusiasm the joy of living and the true satisfaction of having crossed the finishing line”.
Drawing attention to the cycling discipline, Pope Francis described how it is one of the sports that “places emphasis on some virtues, such as patience, integrity, altruism and team spirit”. Indeed, he said, “If we consider road cycling – one of its most common forms – we can see how the whole team works together during the races.”
The delegation meeting the Pope included the President of the International Cycling Union, David Lappartient, the UCI Vice President, Dr Wagih Azzam, and Presidents of continental confederations.