Giro d’Italia winner Egan Bernal on Wednesday introduced Pope Francis with a bicycle following an viewers within the Vatican, a day after the rider introduced he had recovered from Covid-19. The 24-year-old Colombian examined constructive on June 4, lower than per week after his triumph in Italy. “I’ve had many experiences in my life, however that is distinctive, essentially the most stunning expertise I’ve had,” Bernal mentioned after receiving a blessing from the Argentine pontiff within the San Damasco courtyard contained in the Vatican.
The bicycle owner introduced the 84-year-old pontiff with a Pinarello F12 bicycle, decked in blue and white stripes and the Vatican coat of arms, the identical mannequin on which he rode to victory within the Giro, which ended on Could 30.
The Ineos rider additionally gave the pontiff a pink jersey, the garment that identifies the chief of the three-week race round Italy.
“A present from me and from all Colombians who presently want his blessing,” Bernal mentioned he instructed the pontiff as he handed him the jersey.
Pope Francis jokingly requested Bernal in Spanish if he drank “muchos tintos,” or Colombian coffees earlier than his races.
“Actually it was a novel expertise, I’m very completely satisfied, nonetheless nervous,” mentioned the South American, who was accompanied by his girlfriend Maria Fernanda Gutierrez.
“I used to be very stunned by his presence. It is like the best encounter with God up to now and subsequently a novel expertise.”
Bernal, who’s a fluent Italian speaker, instructed journalists later that in essentially the most troublesome moments of his profession he prays recurrently.
“I grew up in a Catholic household, I’m Catholic. Earlier than essentially the most troublesome phases I pray,” he mentioned.
Bernal burst onto the scene in 2019 by successful the Tour de France, biking’s most prestigious race.
In doing so he turned the primary Latin American to win the race and, at 22, the youngest champion since 1909.
Bernal pulled out of final 12 months’s Tour de France having fallen effectively behind.
His participation within the Tokyo Olympics beginning subsequent month stays doubtful due to recurring again issues.
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