Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal was at the General Audience on June 16, 2021, and met with Pope Francis. Bernal became the first Colombian to win the Tour de France in 2019, and the Giro d’Italia in 2021.
“Tomorrow I’ll have a very special meeting with Pope Francis, and I will give him a very special gift on behalf of Colombians,” said the champion cyclist yesterday on his Twitter account. In fact, Bernal gave the Holy Father his pink shirt and a bicycle.
At the end of the audience, the cyclist paused to share his emotions with journalists. According to COPE, the racer said that his meeting with the Pope, in which his girlfriend Maria Fernanda Gutierrez accompanied him, was “a unique experience.” “My family is Catholic, I am Catholic, and it was something I didn’t expect. His presence was really incredible. I’m very happy,” he added. He also said that the Holy Father asked him what he drank before beginning to train because he was so strong.
Bernal, 24, known as the “wonder boy,” is considered one of history’s most outstanding cyclists, and he professes his Catholic faith. “When I’m about to begin a key stage, I entrust myself to God. I don’t have a special Saint,” he said.
In the catechesis of today’s General Audience, the last of the series of catecheses on prayer, Pope Francis stressed that “even in our most painful sufferings, we are never alone; Jesus’ prayer “is with us.”
The Tour de France is an annual men’s multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. Like the other Grand Tours (the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España), it consists of 21 day-long stages over the course of 23 days. The race was first organized in 1903 to increase sales for the newspaper L’Auto and is currently run by the Amaury Sport Organisation.