Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli riders wear replica Ukrainian national champion jerseys emblazoned with '#nowar'
The Italian ProTeam presented themselves at the Trofeo Laigueglia wearing replica jerseys of Ukrainian team-mate Andrii Ponomar
The Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli team took to the presentation stage of the Trofeo Laigueglia wearing a special replica jersey of their team-mate Andrii Ponomar's Ukrainian national champion jersey, accompanied with the words "#nowar" below the Ukraine flag.
Ponomar isn't competing in the Italian race, but seven of his team-mates from the ProTeam decided to pay their respects for Ponomar and the people of his nation.
Explaining the decision to wear replica Ukrainian national champion jerseys, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli general manager Gianni Savio highlighted Ponomar's difficult experience, before condemning the "shameful" Russian invasion.
Toute l’équipe du Champion d’Ukraine Andrii Ponomar qui se présente sur le podium protocolaire avec son maillot aux couleurs de l’Ukraine. Ça réchauffe des cœurs 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/8V8cKIsvckMarch 2, 2022
He said: “We have expressed all our solidarity with Andrii Ponomar and his nation. The father is a soldier on the front line and Ponomar hasn't heard from him for five days.
"The mother and the little sister instead live in an air-raid shelter. We regard Russia's invasion of Ukraine as shameful. We hope this absurd war will end as soon as possible, so that the Ukrainian people can return to live in peace and freedom.”
Just 19 years old, Ponomar won last year's Ukraine National Road Championships in his first year as a professional rider, having joined Drone Hopper at the start of 2021. His appearance in the 2021 Giro d'Italia also made him youngest rider to compete in the Italian Grand Tour since 1929.
The organisers of Trofeo Laigueglia also paid respects to the people of Ukraine by holding a minute's silence before the start of the race. Laigueglia Mayor Roberto Sasso Del Verme stated that sportspeople should have the opportunity to act when injustice occurs.
He said: “We’re convinced that sport has to always carry a message of peace and that athletes don't have to passively suffer events just because they come from geographical location or another."
Following the UCI's decision on Tuesday to ban all Russian and Belarusian teams from competing, the Trofeo Laigueglia represented the first race this sanction came into immediate effect. Gazprom-RusVelo were due to start the one-day race in Italy, but couldn't line-up after the UCI imposed the ban.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
Specialized reveals new heritage-inspired custom colorway for Unbound Gravel 2023
Ian Boswell, Sofia Villafane and other Specialized athletes will again be racing aboard custom -painted bikes at Unbound Gravel. Here's the story behind this year's paint.
By Joe Baker • Published
Tweets of the week: Trek's new Lidl kit, Alaphilippe's unusual training and the Cavendish/Thomas show
Your favourite social media roundup from the world of professional cycling
By Adam Becket • Published
Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli boss Gianni Savio sets out big goal of joining the WorldTour in 2024
The second division team has set out some big goals for the future with its young squad
By Tim Bonville-Ginn • Published