Late last week, Team Saxo Bank succeeded in finishing the cycling school in Akko, Israel. This morning, the numerous cycling activities on the ground surrounding the building were used by both Muslim and Jewish kids from the city where segregation has been a problem.
At the different activities, riders and sports directors were ready to welcome and support the kids. Alberto Contador and Troels Vinther were helping each other to guide the eager Israeli children:
”It’s been a lot of fun and giving working with the kids today. I enjoy seeing how easily they smile and have a good time in spite of their differences and in spite the lack of cycling experience as many never rode a bike before coming here today. So the project is about helping these kids to a healthy lifestyle and to teach them to navigate in the streets and in life.
And the Spaniard’s new Danish teammate, Troels Vinther agrees:
“It’s pretty obvious that some of these kids never been on a bike but it’s cool to see that they want to ride when given the opportunity which we have now provided. They haven’t got the cycling culture compared to Denmark where I come from but they stay positive and it’s a challenge for them to get through our home made course. It was a tough job getting the school ready for today but I think we were all motivated by the fact that these kids and kids after them will benefit from our work.”
Team owner, Bjarne Riis was satisfied with the final result:
“It’s been a long journey through the night but we came through and the school was ready when the kids arrived. I saw them really having a good time and they were drawn to the bike and the new challenge and I hope they’ll continue using the place and continue leading an active life. It’s been a huge goal for me and the team to get this project done and the whole team made it happen by hard and effective team work,” says Bjarne Riis.
The project was established in corporation with Peres Center for Peace and the leader of the sports department was surprised and amazed when she saw the result this morning at the grand opening:
“I’m actually amazed with the result. I saw the place yesterday when there was nothing but an old building and today, the building was re-build, painted, the ground was turned into various cycling activities and the rocky beach was now a nice relaxation and play area. I was excited to see how the kids were treating each other but they ended up cheering for each other to support the different groups getting through the different activities. For us who work with this every day, it was a great experience og now we’re going to make a plan for how to use the place in order not to overbook,” says Tami Hay.