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At least six female Afghan cyclists reach Italy, professional cyclists group announces

Published August 31, 2021

AIGLE, Switzerland (BRAIN) — The Italian Professional Cyclists Association has announced that six female Afgan cyclists, along with a male athlete and some family members, arrived in Rome on Italian Air Force plane on Aug. 27. 

The athletes and family members are currently in quarantine. 

"We can't be completely happy yet," said Alessandra Cappellotto, the head of the worldwide union of women cyclists, CPA Women, vice president of ACCPI (the Association of Professional Italian Cyclists) and president of ASD Road To Equality.

"Of course we are happy for the women athletes we were able to rescue, but we are still extremely worried about those who are still there. The nightmare began for me and Anita Zanatta, vice president of #RoadToEquality, in the first half of August. Anita did an outstanding job with the sole goal of bringing the cyclists to safety. This has been a first step, but we really hope that all the athletes will be brought to safety through the International channels. We are yet to cross the finish line: it's not yet time to celebrate, but this little drop of hope in the ocean of pain and suffering still means a lot."

American activist Shannon Galpin has been working to help female Afghan cyclists get out of the country. She told BRAIN on Tuesday that at about 20 athletes have been helped out of the country. "We have athletes across the spectrum that have been escorted out through the airport gates despite the evacuation being a blockade for Afghans. I am running a series of evacuations now," Galpin said in an email. 

Galpin has started a fundraiser to help the cyclists get established after they resettle. The fundraiser campaign is at

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