Vatican City - Three-time world cycling champion Peter Sagan presented Pope Francis with a bicycle in the yellow and white papal colours during a visit to the Vatican on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Slovak was accompanied by his mother at the Pope's weekly audience in St. Peter's Square, and afterwards presented the pontiff with an autographed world champion cycling jersey and bicycle emblazoned with "Francesco".
Sagan won an unprecedented third consecutive world championship title last September, and has also claimed the Tour de France green points jersey five times.
He was sensationally kicked off last year's Tour de France for elbowing British rival Mark Cavendish in a hectic sprint finish to the fourth stage.
The Bora team rider won a stage and the points standings in the Tour Down Under which ended last Friday.
The Slovak next travels for a high-altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada in southern Spain, before his onslaught in the first cobbled classic of the season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Belgium on February 24.