Tour of Poland: Peloton pays its respects at Auschwitz
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Friday, August 06, 2010

Tour of Poland: Peloton pays its respects at Auschwitz

by Ben Atkins at 11:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
 
Race commemorates the Nazi holocaust 45 years after the liberation of the infamous death camp

Peloton at AuschwitzAt the start of the sixth stage of the Tour de Pologne between Oświęcim and Terma Bukowina Tatrzańska, the peloton passed by the former Auschwitz Birkenau extermination camp. Riders paused to observe a minutes silence at the camp, with one rider from each country standing in front of the camp. Each of them left a white rose in front of the barbed wire fence to commemorate the atrocity and as a reminder to never make the same mistakes again..

The peloton then walked past Auschwitz I, the original concentration camp with its famous “Arbeit macht frei” (work makes you free) sign.

“Auschwitz was the theatre of one of the most tragic pages in the history of mankind,” explained race director Czeslaw Lang. “With this commemoration we wanted to try and send a message of universal peace, equality, brotherhood and trans-national solidarity. Those are fundamental values that are stronger than linguistic, ideological or religious barriers, and they are the basis of both sports as a whole and cycling. They are values that both sports and cycling can ad must help spread worldwide.”

An estimated 1.1 million people were killed in the Auschwitz camps between 1940 and their liberation by troops of the Soviet Union in January 1945. The site is now preserved as a museum to the holocaust, as well as a memorial to the victims of genocide all over the world.

In addition to the official tribute, members of team staff were given the opportunity to visit the Auschwitz buildings.

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