Some 16 Russian cyclists with disabilities brought to an end their 3,200 km race from Lipsek with a ceremony today in Strasbourg.
Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland (photo) said the riders, who crossed five countries (Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France) and three time zones to complete the journey in 14 days, symbolised “a Europe without barriers and borders.”
He described the two week rally as “a test of outstanding determination and enormous courage” and saluted the participants by declaring the event “a journey few of us would have ever dared to take on.”
The Secretary General added: “Your bike ride is a salute to the ideals of one Europe, open for all and shared by all. And your success is proof that we can all succeed.”
The rally was organised by the Russian Paralympic Committee and the city of Lipetsk and sponsored by the Council of Europe. Russian Federation’s ambassador Alexander Alekseev, dedicated the event to next year’s Paraympic Games in London and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games two years later in Sochi, Russia.
After resting overnight at the European Youth Centre, the cyclists will add another stage to their route by racing to Paris.