The Israeli Cycling Academy team, granddaughter Gioia Bartali, Italian Ambassador Gianluigi Benedetti and KKL Italy President Sergio Castelbolognesi by the dedication plaque to Gino Bartali..
(photo credit: YOAV DEVIR KKL-JNF)
A single-track bicycle trail was dedicated in Haruvit (Carob) Forest to the renowned Italian cyclist Gino Bartali OBM, who was honored as a Righteous Among the Nations for his efforts in rescuing Jews during the Holocaust.
The dedication ceremony for the bike trail took place on May 3rd, the day before the opening of Giro d'Italia, one of the most important cycling races in the world. This year marked the annual race’s 101st time. In a historic first, the race kicked off in Israel, and then continued in Italy. The dedication ceremony was attended by the Israeli cycling team, the Italian ambassador to Israel, the President of KKL Italy, the KKL-JNF emissary in Italy, as well as the granddaughter of Gino Bartali.
"All the Jews in Italy are full of admiration for Bartali’s actions," said President of KKL Italy, Sergio Castelbolognesi. "He was a devout Catholic, an anti-fascist and a man who championed life." Referring to the Giro d'Italia, he added: “We feel great pride that the tour begins here in Israel."
Gioia Bartali, the granddaughter of renowned cyclist and resistance fighter Gino Bartali, said at the ceremony: "I am thrilled to be here today, I did not expect to feel so much love," she said. "As far as I'm concerned, the KKL has always been part of the family. My grandfather was an avid nature lover. When he would return from cycling, he would always describe the scenery and landscape he rode through, and not necessarily the competition in which he participated. A cycling trail here in Israel is the best way to commemorate him and to reflect his personality."
Gianluigi Benedetti, Italy's ambassador to Israel, said of Bartali that he was "a brave and righteous man with an exceptional personality." He described the cycling trail dedicated to his memory as "a project that symbolizes life."
Read more, see photos of the bike trail dedication to Gino Bartali