Cycling champion receives jersey blessed by Pope Francis

Rome, Italy, Jun 3, 2014 / 05:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The winner of the Giro d’Italia cycling race, Nairo Quintana of Colombia, has received the pink championship jersey that Pope Francis blessed before the competition.

Pope Francis blessed the jersey in a private act before the race, as he did in 2013 as well.

The jersey's pink color comes from the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, which created the competition; the paper's pages are pink as well.

The Pope was also given a “very special” pass as a gift from the competition's organizers.

Pope Francis is an avid sports fan and the most prominent follower of the Argentine soccer team San Lorenzo de Almagro.

In his meetings with young people, the Pope has repeatedly made references to soccer, especially during World Youth Day Rio 2013.

There he told three million young people on Copacabana Beach that “Jesus offers us something greater than the World Cup.”

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