|Moser's 1984 record-beating bike (public domain image)
In time, Madonna del Ghisallo became the patron saint of all travellers passing through the area. Later, she became the patron of a specific type of traveller, cyclists, when the pass became a regular feature of the Giro d'Italia and especially the Giro di Lombardia; and she was officially declared such by papal decree in 1948 when a votive flame was carried all the way from Rome, for the final stretch by Italian heroes Coppi and Bertali.
|Cadel in yellow, 2011
(© HTO3 CC BY-ND 2.0)
While this year's Tour winner Cadel Evans is neither a religious man nor prey to the sometimes peculiar superstitions that many riders insist they must observe in order to avoid injury, death or - worst of all - bad form; he, like all cyclists, is keen to observe the traditions and customs of the sport, honouring the memory of those who came before him and those who have fallen. So, in the area as part of il Lombardia on Saturday the 15th of October, he took the opportunity to make a pilgrimage and added one of the yellow jerseys he won in this year's Tour to his rainbow jersey from 2009. During a service conducted by local priest Father Farina, the jersey was blessed and then left before a holy mural of the saint, ready to be placed within a protective frame and added to the vast collection of cycling relics within the building.