Pope Francis gives Cycling a Mixed Blessing
Pope Francis has praised cycling for the value it places on discipline, selflessness and courage, but warned that the sport can become tainted by doping, dishonesty and corruption
Francis met on Saturday with European and African cycling federations during their annual assembly in Rome.
The Argentine Jesuit cited the team spirit often seen in cycling but warned that it can become distorted when profit and prestige take over, “If we consider road cycling we can see how the whole team works together during the races,” the Argentine said.
The 82 year old Pontiff praised cycling as one of the sports that “places emphasis on patience in effort, on long and difficult climbs; courage, in trying to breakaway or making a sprint; integrity, in respecting the rules; altruism and team spirit. “(Athletes) have this extraordinary opportunity to communicate to everyone, especially young people, the positive values of life and the desire to devote it to the pursuit of high and noble goals.”
He cited doping, dishonesty, disrespect for oneself and one's opponents, and corruption.
“I am thinking of doping, dishonesty, disrespect for oneself and one’s opponents, and corruption,” he told participants at the Annual Congress of the European Cycling Union, which this year also hosted the Assembly of the African Cycling Confederation.
Last year, World Champion Peter Sagan presented the Pope with a Signed Rainbow Jersey.