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Havana – Cuba’s longserving president Fidel Castro won’t be able to excuse himself from physical exercise after he was given a bike by Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx on Monday.
Castro, who will be 80 in August, was given the bike by the five-time Tour de France winner for his promotion of the sport in the country.
Merckx, known as the ‘Cannibal’ during his bicycling days and who was anointed best cyclist of the 20th century by the sport’s governing body the UCI, presented the blue Merckx, adorned with two small Cuban flags, to the President of the Cuban Olympic Committee Jose Ramon Fernandez. “I hope he (Fidel Castro) will use it,” said Merckx.
Fernandez said it would be delivered to the president as soon as possible. “We will get it to the president today,” said Fernandez “We all know how much he has done to boost the sport on the island,” he added. On Saturday Merckx had given the Cuban authorities 1000 bicycles – donated by the Belgian Lottery – for sportsmen and doctors in the eastern province of Guantanamo. “I am very proud to be the godfather of this mission. I think that sport serves to unite people,” said Merckx.