The President of Israel, Shimon Peres, personally thanked Bjarne Riis, Alberto Contador and Team Saxo Bank for their help towards peace in the Middle East. The Danish team has gathered for a training camp in Israel under the motto “Cycling for Peace.”
Saxo Bank last week built and opened a cycling school in Acre for Jewish and Muslim children, in cooperation with the Shimon Peres Center for Peace. In response, Peres met with the team on Tuesday to thank them.
“The fact is, when their talk about sports, then the Israelis and Arabs can easily work and play together,” Peres told sporten.tv2.dk.
Riis was moved by the meeting with the 88-year-old Peres. “It is something unique we have helped to create here. And to meet with the Israeli president, it is big. Really big. It can not be compared with any sport. It must not, but this is something we will never forget. "
Peres also helped celebrate Alberto Contador's 29th birthday, giving him a small present and leading a chorus of “Happy Birthday”.
For a photo gallery of their camp, click here.