European Rotarians are cycling to serve
23rd Rotary World Cycling Championship coming up at Lake Orta in Northern Italy
Engarda Giordani, Rotary Club Orta San Giulio, + 39 0322 912380
(Evanston, Ill. – 13 August 2007) — Cycling enthusiasts around Europe are shifting gears in anticipation of the 23rd Annual Rotary World Championship, set for 7-9 September in Mottarone in Italy’s Piedmont region.
Organized by Rotary clubs throughout Europe, the championship is held every year in a different European country, attracting up to 300 Rotarian racers competing in four age classes. The entrance fees are distributed as prize money to the winners, who use the funds to support their Rotary clubs’ community service projects.
“This gives us an opportunity to share our passion and do something good,” says Franco Piola, president of the event’s organizing committee and a member of the Rotary Club Orta San Guilio. “The magic of our enchanting Lake Orta will be the ideal setting for a weekend of sport and friendship.”
The first Rotary World Cycling Championship was organized in 1984 by the Rotary Club of Herentals in Belgium as a fundraising activity. After three years the club decided that an annual event of this size was too much burden for a single club. A number of Belgian and Dutch race participants came together to establish the International “Cycling to Serve” fellowship which allows Rotarians to share their cycling passion and demonstrate their (strictly non-professional) talents in different locations. Since then the championship has taken places in France, England, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and this year for the second time in Italy.
Piola says visiting tourists and local friends will have the opportunity to meet with famous champs of the past — Francesco Moser, Imerio Massignan, Gianni Mottta and Michele Dancelli among others — who will compete in a Champions’ Race on 8 September.
“Faustino Coppi, the son of the biggest champion of all (Fausto Coppi) has also guaranteed his presence,” he adds. A former motor-cross pro turned amateur cyclist, Piola competed along with members of his club in last year’s championship on the famous race circuit in Zolder, Belgium.
The Rotary Club of San Giulio also invites bike enthusiasts of all ages to participate in the non-competitive “Tour around the Lake” on Sunday. The tour will have a refreshment stop at Cesera, where riders can sample the region’s gastronomic specialties.
All proceeds of this fun race will go to help build a much needed extension to the Health Center at Masango in Burundi, a hospital supported by the Rotary Club of San Giulio that provides free medical care to children and adults, including malaria and aids patients.
“Following this year’s motto ‘Feel Your Passion — Italy 2007’, we want to organize a big cycling party where we can combine our sporting passion with our humanitarian passion,” Piola says.
Cultural highlights of three-day event are the “My Doping” show of the theatrical company Casa degli Alfieri at the Piazza Motta on Friday evening (admission is free) and a benefit concert (“Concerto for Organs”) with music by J.S. Bach at the Church of San Nicolao, which is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
For more information about the Rotary cycling championship go to www.cyclingtoserve.it
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians who are members of more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.