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Italian cyclist does his part to fight COVID-19

Cycling champion Davide Martinelli uses his bike to provide elderly with medicines and food in his home village of Lodetto

Giada Zampano   | 10.04.2020
Italian cyclist does his part to fight COVID-19 File Photo

ROME 

An Italian cycling champion has found a special way to exploit his ability as an athlete: he uses his bike to deliver medicines and food to elderly people in his home village amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Davide Martinelli -- a cyclist with Astana and the Italian national team -- is now a zero-cost rider for his fellow citizens in the tiny village of Lodetto near the city of Brescia -- one of the areas in the northern Lombardy region worst-hit by the outbreak.

"Lodetto is a special place for me. Around 1,500 people live there, but unfortunately, there's no pharmacy or food shops,” Martinelli wrote on his Instagram account.

“I decided it was my chance to do something to help and pay back the people who have always supported me.”

Martinelli said the initiative started thanks to an idea of some youths in the village, including his cousin.

“I've got a bike, two legs… and a backpack, so I can do my part,” he said, adding it took him only 30 minutes to ride the 10 kilometers to the closest town of Rovato and come back -- nothing special for a professional cyclist.

“When I delivered the medicines to an elderly couple -- obviously wearing a mask and gloves -- they were incredibly grateful,” Martinelli added, recalling the special joy he felt when he was greeted for his help.

"I'm the happiest person in the world. Cycling is great, but there's nothing like the feeling when you help someone in need.”

Despite registering its slowest pace in infections, Italy remains the country with the heaviest death toll from the coronavirus, with over 18,000 victims.

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