The Flame for the 2019 European Games is speeding towards the Alps after a simple yet moving lighting ceremony in Ara Pacis here in Rome.
Some 20 motorcycle outriders from The One Chapter Belarus roared into the night with the casket containing the Flame.
They are expected to rendezvous with a party of nine mountaineers who will begin an ascent to the summit of Mont Blanc with the Flame.
‘’It is a splendid idea to climb Mont Blanc and to include it as an initial part of the journey from Rome to Minsk.’’ said European Olympic Committees’ President Janez Kocijančič.
‘’It is also a symbolic message that we would like to climb high, especially in the organisation of this huge sporting event.’’
The climbers from Belarus Mountaineering Federation have left nothing to chance.
A team of five made a preliminary ascent on May 1 as a test run before returning to base camp.
Expedition leader Alexander Godlevsky will decide which of the group will make the final assault on the summit during the latter stages of the climb .
Meanwhile, fencing champion Alena Belova reflected on the moment when she carried the ''Flame of Peace'' for her home town of Minsk.
Belova won her medals in the foil and made her final Olympic appearance at Moscow 1980.
"I did not even see the Olympic Flame when it came to Minsk, because I was in Moscow training for competition in my fourth Olympics," she told insidethegames.
"With this event, I felt the same nerves and emotions I had before taking part in a competition.
"It was a new knowledge and a new experience.
"They had been getting ready for this ceremony for more than a year, rather like athletes train for competition.
"Now the mood is a feeling of holiday and celebration."
Belova had made her Olympic debut in Mexico 1968 before competing in Munich, Montreal and Moscow.
"All the Ms," she joked.
"In Russian, the word for youth starts with an M, a time of joy and potential strength, and the word for peace is Mir, also beginning with an M, so it is symbolic.''
After the ascent of Mont Blanc, the Flame will visit Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary and Poland before entering Belarus in Brest.
"On the way to Minsk, the Torch Relay will warm hearts," said Sergei Kovalchuk, Belarus Minister for Sport and Tourism.