Peter Sagan meets Pope Francis in the Vatican City
World champion presented a signed rainbow jersey and custom painted Specialized to the Pope
On Wednesday, Peter Sagan travelled to Vatican City in Rome for a meeting with the leader of the Catholic Chruch Pope Francis. The brief meeting took place after the Pope’s weekly audience in St Peter’s Square and was arranged by Sagan’s bike sponsor Specialized and Volkswagon Italia.
Sagan is a devout Catholic and made the visit with his mother, wife Katerina and young son Marlon. Describing the brief exchange he had with the Pope, Sagan told Gazzetta dello Sport, “Pope Francis asked me to pray for him. I replied that I will do it for sure. The Pope prays for each one of us, for the whole world, and that means he needs strength. That strength that comes from the fact that others pray for him.”
Sagan was back in Europe after making his season debut at the Tour Down Under where he won a stage and the points classification. Initial reports suggested Sagan would ask the Pope to baptize his son Marlon but that did not take place. Instead Sagan described having a pleasant exchange with Pope Francis. “I like Pope Francis, he’s nice,” Sagan said. “He conveys difficult ideas with simple words. He is an example, an important man for the world. Even those that don’t believe know the Pope and through him, if they want, they can discover God.”
I'd like to thank my friends at @iamspecialized Italia for providing this unique opportunity to my family and myself to meet the Pope. I will never forget this once-in-a-lifetime experience! (Photos @attiliocapra) pic.twitter.com/u9l4KDYCGd
— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) January 25, 2018
Following the meeting in which Sagan presented the Pope with a signed rainbow jersey and a custom painted Specialized bike, the family visited the Sistine Chapel and spent the rest of the day visiting Rome. It was the families firstg opportunity to travel abroad with baby Marlon.
“This was Marlon’s first trip and so we wanted to see how he behaved. He slept during the flight and when we visited Rome. No crying, no noise,” Sagan described.
Pope Francis has received other bikes during his tenure as supreme pontiff. In 2015 he was presented with a bike painted and adorned by VéloColour during a visit to Pennsylvania. Sagan is not the first cyclist to visit the pope either with Eddy Merckx making a papal visit in 1974.