Sagan meets Pope Francis, gives him a bike

The three-time reigning world champion attended Wednesday's Papal Audience and presented Pope Francis with a bike and a jersey.

VATICAN CITY (AFP) — Three-time world champion Peter Sagan presented Pope Francis with a bicycle in the yellow and white papal colors during a visit to the Vatican on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Slovakian was accompanied by his mother at the Pope’s weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square, and afterward he presented the pontiff with an autographed world champion jersey and a bike emblazoned with “Francesco.”

Sagan won an unprecedented third consecutive world championship last September, and has also claimed the Tour de France green points jersey five times.

He was disqualified from last year’s Tour de France after he made contact with British rival Mark Cavendish in a hectic sprint finish on stage 4. Cavendish crashed hard into the barriers and broke his shoulder blade.

Sagan, who rides for Bora-Hansgrohe, won a stage and the points classification at the Santos Tour Down Under, which ended last Friday.

Sagan next travels for a high-altitude training camp in Spain’s Sierra Nevada before the first cobbled classic of the season, Belgium’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 24.