Cold, rain and wind only made the feat of a group of female French cyclists, members of the Cancer Association, who arrived in Serbia, more awe-inspiring.
A group of female French cyclists, who left France on September 17, 2021, arrived in Belgrade on Saturday, October 9, and were welcomed at Dorćol Platz, at around 4 p.m.
From the Serbian side, they were greeted by Mr. Darko Udovičić, Assistant Minister of Sports (Ministry of Youth and Sports of Serbia), representatives of Let’s Be Together Association (Breast Cancer Association, member of NALOR), representatives of the Cyclists’ Association of Serbia, and a representative of the Institute of Sports and Sports Medicine.
On behalf of the French Embassy, the cyclists were welcomed by Mr. Fatih Akcal (Chargé d’Affaires of the French Embassy in Serbia), Mr. Stanislas Pierret (Counselor for Culture and Cooperation of the French Embassy and Director of the French Institute in Serbia) and Mr. Franck Hiddinga (Attaché for French Language and Sports, Deputy Director of the French Institute in Serbia)
The cyclists are members of the Casiopeea association, founded to support women with cancer. This association organizes workshops and campaigns to motivate women with cancer to engage in a sports activity, believing that sport plays an exceptional role in the fight against the disease.
Nathalie David, a member of the team of cyclists who beat breast cancer, thanked for the warm welcome and highlighted the positive message they are disseminating on their 4,000-kilometre-long tour. She also mentioned how important it was to maintain a good mental and physical condition in order to prevent illness, but also during illness when people tend to withdraw into themselves. The Return to the Saddle programme provides special training sessions for sick people so they can deal with the treatment more easily, and it also plays a big role after the end of treatment, as it helps prevent the disease from re-occurring.
“The members of this organization deserve all our support and encouragement. They are an excellent example to all of us because they demonstrate how important it is to have courage and will in the fight against the disease. They also remind us how much sport and health are interconnected. Friends and partners of the French Embassy, who came to welcome them, pay a great deal of attention to unity and optimism in the fight against the disease. It is important that we maintain this positive spirit through the preparations for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which I hope, will bring a lot of sporting joy to everyone, “said Mr. Fatih Akcal, Chargé d’Affaires of the French Embassy in Serbia.
After Novi Sad and Belgrade, the cyclists will continue their journey to Golubac, and their goal is to arrive in Bucharest on October 16, 2021.