Vatican cyclist spreading the pope’s message at worlds

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A simple white helmet like the pope’s skullcap.

The Holy See’s crossed keys seal stamped on his white and yellow jersey over his center.

Dutch-born cyclist Rien Schuurhuis will lift a huge sense of accountability when he races for the Vatican in Sunday’s street race at the biking global championships in Wollongong, Australia — marking a primary in the city-state’s expanding use of sports activities as an tool of debate, peace and unity.

“It’s an incredible honor,” Schuurhuis instructed The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Australia on Friday. “I believe the actual emotion continues to be but to come back after I’m status there at the starting point.

“This is a great first step in the direction of what the pope believes in achieving through sports (with) inclusiveness and fraternity,” Schuurhuis added. “Everyone on the sports field — or on the roads in this case — is equal, no matter their backgrounds, religion or age.”

Vatican athletes have not too long ago participated as non-scoring competition in the Games of the Small States of Europe — open to international locations with fewer than 1 million folks — and the Mediterranean Games.

The biking worlds mark the first time {that a} Vatican athlete will compete as a normal scoring competitor, after the International Cycling Union known the Holy See as its 2 hundredth member final yr.

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