Pope Francis has a new Dogma thanks to Egan Bernal – a Pinarello Dogma F12 type, that is, rather than a fixed set of beliefs – with the Giro d’Italia champion presenting him with the bike at the Vatican this morning as well as the maglia rosa he won in Milan last month.
The bike comes with a striking colour scheme based on the flag of the Pope’s native Argentina – the silver lettering is a nod to the country’s name – as well as the Papal seal, his regnal name, and his birth forenames, Jorge Mario.
— COPEdaleando (@Copedaleando) June 16, 2021
There’s a long tradition of bicycles being presented to the Pope, such as a gold-plated Colnago given by Ernesto Colnago to Pope John II in 1979, while in 2016 Peter Sagan gave Pope Francis a Specialized road bike in the Papal colours of yellow and white, which fetched €30,000 when auctioned for charity.
Bernal was accompanied to the Vatican by his girlfriend, María Fernanda Gutiérrez, and Colombia’s ambassador to the Holy See, Jorge Mario Eastman, reports El Tiempo.
Las imágenes del encuentro del #Papa con el ganador del #giro2021 @Eganbernal.
Estaba acompañado por su novia Fernanda Motas.
Dos regalos en nombre de toda #Colombia.@lavuelta pic.twitter.com/hgCmYBScRa
— Eva Fernández (@evaenlaradio) June 16, 2021
The 24 year old, who is a Roman Catholic, described meeting the Pope as a “unique” experience, “the most beautiful I’ve had in my life” and more important than winning the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia.
He also revealed that he had been nervous ahead of the audience, saying it was “more stressful” than riding a key stage of a race.
“This is a thousand times more stressful because you don’t know what you are going to say. You have a few words prepared, but you’re very nervous. At least once we began to speak it was easier.”
The Ineos Grenadiers rider said that once he had presented the Pope with the bicycle and the jersey, the pair began to joke, with the Pope asking him “how many tinto” – the sugar-laced, concentrated black coffee shot found all over Colombia – he had needed to drink “to climb so strongly.”
Bernal and his partner had remained in Italy following his Giro victory after the pair both tested positive for COVID-19, but on Monday he told his followers on Twitter that he had been given the all-clear.
Today at the Vatican, he told journalists that it is his “dream” to win the Vuelta a Espana, which would see him join a select group of just seven riders who have won all three of cycling’s Grand Tours, although he did not confirm whether or not he would be at the start of the Spanish race in Burgos in August.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.