Imagine being stranded in a faraway country as war tears your homeland apart. Imagine that for eight months you have to live away from your loved ones, who are trapped in the line of fire.

The men and women of the Ukrainian cycling team are living this right now. “Some of us do not have any kind of contact with our families – like those who live in Donetsk,” said their coach, Sergiy Grechyn.

We met him and his team this morning in the Italian city of L’Aquila, on what has turned out to be a good day with a chance to spend a few hours away from the worries and concerns.

Today, this Abruzzian city that is hosting the Ukrainian cycling team is also hosting its annual Gran Fondo 100 km cycling ride. And we, the IPT team, played a helping hand when they moved here after being stranded in Turkey when the war erupted.

Today, we were proud to see the Ukrainian women ride carrying our message of “Racing for Change”.

“We do not know when we will be able to go back home, but as long as we are here, we will try our best to have them race and keep their dreams of being professional cyclists alive,” said their coach.

Valentino and Giulia Sciotti, our friends and sponsors from Fantini wines dropped by to greet the Ukrainian team.