Maltese sport on Sunday woke up to the terrible news that former cyclist and national coach Jack Schiavone had died at the age of 52 years.
Schiavone was a prominent figure in the sport of cycling in Malta and will long be remembered for his huge contribution he gave to the sport not only as a cyclist but also as a promoter of the sport.
In a statement, Joe Bajada, the Malta Cycling Federation secretary-general, paid tribute to Schiavone’s contribution to the sport.
“Jack was known by many as a person with a big heart and who loved the sport of cycling from a very young age,” Bajada said.
“Many cyclists know Jack as a bubbly person with a great sense of humour. Jack was a two-time national road champion, in 1999 with Melita CC and in 2002 with Birkirkara St Joseph. He also won the national time trial championship in 2003 and 2004 with Pamsons club.
“He also represented Malta in several international competitions such as the Mediterranean Games in Tunisia, the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and the Games of the Small States of Europe in San Marino and Andorra as well as the World B Championships in South Africa.”
Schiavone was one of a select few Maltese cyclists who donned the prestigious red jersey in the Tour ta’ Malta.
After his retirement from the sport, Schiavone remained an active figure and his qualities were recognised by the Malta Cycling Federation who appointed him as national coach.
“Cycling in Malta has suffered a huge loss,” Bajada said. “This is also a huge loss for Maltese sport in general. In the name of all those who form part of the Maltese cycling fraternity, we salute you Jack and thank you for all the work you carried out for the sport you loved so much.
“We hope that your drive, passion and love you had will continue to enlighten us. In the name of the Malta Cycling Federation I sent my deep condolences to his family and friends as well as to the Cyclist Club CC.”
XTERRA Malta also paid tribute to Schiavone who was an avid promoter of this discipline.
“There are a few people on this planet that make an impact, and Jack Schiavone was one of them. Today he left our world, leaving his dearest family and his sporting family too,” XTERRA wrote on their facebook page.
“Jack helped get the XTERRA brand off the ground in Malta, not only as a champion for mountain biking and cycling, but also as a sponsor, supporter and advisor to us.
“His passion for cycling, for a sport that is principle-driven, for innovation and change, and for making the world a better place was clear in every interaction I ever had with him.
“Plus, he was a great friend to all those passionate about life and sports.”
On his part, Fabio Spiteri, Malta’s veteran triathlete wrote: “Rest in peace champion. Enjoy your cycle rides in heaven Jack Schiavone!! Thanks for shaping up cycling in Malta!”
Keith Galea, one of Malta’s leading triathletes, also paid tribute to Schiavone.
“Every pedal. Every win. Every session. Every sweat and pain on this bike will be dedicated to you Jack Schiavone.
“Until we meet again. Grazzi ta kollox Jack.”
Jack Schiavone’s funeral will be held on Tuesday at the Birżebbuġa’s Paris Church at 2.30pm.