Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Cycling champion gifts bike and jersey to Pope Francis

EGAN BERNAL

Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

J-P Mauro - published on 06/19/21

Catholic cyclist Egan Bernal called the meeting "the most beautiful experience" he ever had.

After Pope Francis’ June 16 general audience, the pontiff received an unexpected gift. Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal, winner of the 2021 Giro d’Italia race, presented Pope Francis with his bicycle and jersey.

Bernal, 24, made history this year when he became the youngest winner of the Giro d’Italia in nearly a century. In celebration of his victory, he made a gift of his cycling memorabilia. The pink jersey he gave the pope was the same he wore on the course and the bike was painted in papal colors. 

Pope Francis was thrilled to meet Bernal and he spent several minutes congratulating the Catholic athlete. According to Rome Reports, the pope commented on Bernal’s strength at the pedals before asking, with tongue in cheek:

“How many cups of Colombian coffee do you drink before?”

Bernal’s impression

Pope Francis laughed with Bernal and his girlfriend before blessing them both. In an interview afterward, Bernal expressed how thrilled he was with the meeting. Of his interaction with Pope Francis, he said: 

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am very happy, still in shock with what happened. I was very surprised to be in the pope’s presence. It was really a unique experience. I think it’s the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had… I grew up in a Catholic Family. I’m Catholic, so this has been the most significant encounter with God so far…

“I told him it was an honor to be there, and that, on behalf of all Colombians, I wanted to give him a bike painted especially for him, and the Giro’s maglia rosa, from me and all Colombians, who need his blessing right now. Then he blessed my girlfriend and me.”

This is not the first time Pope Francis has been presented with a bicycle from a professional cyclist. In 2018, he was given another bike and championship jersey from Slovinian cyclist Peter Sagan. This donation, sold at auction, enabled the Holy See to raise money for good works. It is likely the Vatican will auction off Bernal’s memorabilia as well.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
3
OUR LADY
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
4
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
5
SLEEPING
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
6
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
7
ORTHODOX COMMUNION
Philip Kosloski
Why do some Eastern Catholics use spoons for Holy Communion?
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.