Bratislava, August 5 (TASR) – A total of 28 cyclists from the Slovensky Orol (Slovak Eagle) sports association will cycle for 10 days from Bratislava to Rome in order to meet Pope Francis, TASR learnt on Friday.
Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan (Slovak National Party/SNS) earlier in the day kicked off the traditional annual Bratislava-Rome cycling pilgrimage beneath Bratislava Castle.
After overcoming the 1,300-kilometre trip, the cyclists will deliver a message to the pope concerning this year’s Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and an invitation to visit Slovakia.
“We’ve prepared a jersey for him, and the second gift is a secret,” said Slovensky Orol president Jozef Galik.
“I appreciate that your path leads to friendship and understanding between nations. It’s one of the alternative ways that we can fight against violence,” said Plavcan. The education minister also took the patronage over the event.
Slovensky Orol is a non-political Christian sports educational organisation with an almost 100-year history. Its cyclists are amateurs between 18-50 years of age. The cyclists-pilgrims will ride some 130 kilometres a day and are scheduled to arrive in Rome on August 14.
The budget of the event is €20,000, while half of the sum has been paid by the cyclists-pilgrims themselves.