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Vatican rider to make history at world road cycling championships Eliud Kipchoge, Keira D’Amato chase records at Berlin Marathon Dwyane Wade honors Kobe Bryant at Redeem Team film screening

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VATICAN – a simple white helmet, similar to the pope’s skullcap.

The Seal of the Holy See with crossed keys is imprinted on his white and yellow jersey over his heart.

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Dutch-born cyclist Reen Shed House will carry a great sense of duty as he races for the Vatican in Sunday’s road race at the Cycling World Championships in Wollongong, Australia, marking the first time in a city-state that is increasingly using sport as a tool for dialogue, peace and solidarity.

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“This is an incredible honor,” Schuurhuis told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Australia on Friday. “I think the real emotions are yet to come when I’m on the starting line.

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“This is a big first step towards what the Pope believes in achieving through sport (c) inclusion and brotherhood,” Schuurhuis added. “Everyone on the sports field – or in this case on the roads – is equal, regardless of their origin, religion or age.”

Vatican athletes have recently competed in the Small States Games of Europe, open to countries with less than 1 million inhabitants, and in the Mediterranean Games without scoring points.

The World Cycling Championships will be the first time an athlete from the Vatican will compete as a regular scoring competitor since last year the International Cycling Union recognized the Holy See as its 200th member.

“As Pope Francis said when he met with a group of riders in 2019, the beautiful thing about cycling is that when you fall behind due to a fall or a flat tire, your teammates slow down and help you catch up with the main package.” said the president of the Athletica Vaticana Giampaolo Matteiwho oversees the team. “It’s something that needs to be carried over into life in general.”

40-year-old Shuurhuis got into the team because he is married to the Australian ambassador to the Vatican. Chiara Porro.

He has Dutch and Australian passports but now represents the Vatican in sporting terms.

“I learned to ride a bike before I could walk,” Schuurhuis said of growing up in the bike-crazed Netherlands.

Schuurhuis has previously raced at the UCI Continental Circuit, one level below the Elite World Tour.

“He is a good cyclist. This is a high level,” he said. Valerio AgnoliShurhuis volunteer coach and former Grand Tour winning teammate. Ivan Basso as well as Vincenzo Nibali.

Shuurhuis, whose full-time job now runs a 3D printer supplies company, is training on Rome’s busy roads. Sometimes he goes to the Alban Hills, where the pope’s traditional summer residence is located in Castel Gandolfo.

Aside from the recent photo shoot, Schurhuis doesn’t actually travel to the Vatican.

“I think I did it to my son once,” he said. – But in fact, through St. Peter’s Square is impossible. So I think we were chastised by the police.”

Shuurhuis does not expect to get closer to victory. Its main purpose is to spread the Pope’s message.

For example, when he participated in a church event with Indigenous Australians on Friday, or when prominent Belgian Wout van Aert scouted him during training the day before.

“When people see this special white and yellow jersey, they get curious,” Agnoli said.

Agnoli noted that cycling takes place on open roads, passes people’s houses and is not limited to paying ticket holders’ fares in a stadium or arena.

“That’s the beauty of cycling,” Agnoli said. “I was chosen by the Vatican for this job because my role as a cyclist was to help the team. I helped my teammates win the Giro d’Italia and the Spanish Vuelta.”

In another example of the values ​​associated with cycling, Mattei pointed out how Gino BartaliThe 1938 Tour de France winner who smuggled fake documents inside the frame of his bike to help save Jews during the German occupation of Italy in World War II is currently being considered for beatification by the Vatican, the first step towards eventual sainthood.

Vatican officials would like to put a team in the Olympics someday.

“To go to the Olympics, you will need to create an Olympic Committee and gain recognition from the International Olympic Committee,” Mattei said. “It takes time”.

However, participation in the World Championships is a big step towards participation in the Olympic Games.

So dad will watch Schuurhuis on TV?

“The time difference is a problem,” Mattei said, noting that the race in Australia starts at 2:15 am Vatican time and that Pope Francis is traveling to the southern Italian city of Matera on Sunday. But maybe he’ll watch a replay.

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Born 15 days apart in 1984, Kenyan. Eliud Kipchoge and American Kira D’Amato showed that there are several paths to success in the marathon. Their paths will converge to some extent when they take first places at Sunday’s Berlin Marathon, where Kipchoge could break his world record and D’Amato could lower his American record.

Kipchoge, a 37-year-old who ran several miles to and from school as a child, took the more traditional 26.2-mile route to fame. An outstanding athlete on the track (5000m world champion at age 18), he switched to the road after missing out on the Kenyan Olympic team in 2012.

Over the past decade, he has become the undisputed greatest player of all time: winning 14 of his 16 marathons, becoming the first man to complete the distance in two hours (in a non-record run), and in his last appearance on the Pancake Run in the German capital in 2018, reduced world record from 2:02:57 to 2:01:39.

Kipchoge has no doubt returned to Berlin – instead of running the November New York City Marathon for the first time, which he plans to do in the coming years – because he feels he can break the record even more. New York is too hilly for fast times. The last seven times the men’s marathon world record has been broken in Berlin.

In press conferences last Saturday and again on Friday, the philosophically minded Kipchoge refused to set the goal of “world record or lose.”

“I always say I don’t call a world record, but I aim to run a good race, whether it’s a world record, whether it’s a personal best, whether it’s a good race,” he said. “But let’s call it a good race.

For Kipchoge, a good race isn’t just about timing or winning. It has become a kind of motto to inspire people to be active and show that “no man is limited”.

Kipchoge is in the same shape as he was in 2018 when he broke the world record, his manager said. Valentine Wedding. The weather, as in 2018, promises to be ideal for running. He will wear a similar but not the same model of Nike shoes. If there’s anything external that can be improved on that special day four years ago, it’s setting the pace, Trow said.

One thing that is guaranteed to be different this year is Kipchoge’s planting time. Then his personal record at the entrance to Berlin was 2:03:05. He was a year away from his two-hour break dance.

“So he has a bit more experience running at that pace,” Trow said.

This Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele ran 2:01:41 in Berlin in 2019 at the age of 37 – two seconds short of Kipchoge’s world record – that’s a plus too. Kipchoge is considered the greatest marathon runner in history by a significant margin. If time bears this out, his personal best should be well above Bekele, who is arguably the greatest all-distance runner in history as a former 5000m and 10,000m world record holder.

Bekele on Sunday cannot compete with Kipchoge. Other top contenders are running in the London Marathon next week, though Ethiopia Guye Adola – The Best of Guye Adola stands out among the supporting actors of Berlin. In 2017, Adola finished 14 seconds behind Kipchoge in Berlin in his 26.2-mile debut, but did little in the next four years before winning Berlin last year in 2:05:45.

Trow said he had no conversations with Kipchoge about his remaining expiration date as a marathon runner. Haile Gebrselassiea former world record holder from Ethiopia, won his last marathon victory at 36 years old. Bekele, now 40 years old, hasn’t made it five minutes before 2:01:41 since running it.

“More broadly, he is thinking about the 2024 Olympics in Paris,” Trow said of his client, who could be the first person to win three Olympic marathons. “The world’s major marathons, he won four out of six races. There are still two races left in which he has not yet competed. [Boston and New York City]. So that is also one of the goals for the coming years.”

Then D’Amato. While Kipchoge built her marathon career, she spent almost a decade between competitive races after a middle-distance stint at American University. She got married, had two children and worked in real estate before returning to running to lose weight.

She broke off…


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