A lovely, sunny day opened the 44th edition of the Granfondo Internazionale Nove Colli di Cesenatico. At the first light of dawn the roads of this small town on the Romagna coast were literally flooded by a tide of cyclists heading to the port designed by Leonardo, Porto canale, where the race was set to start. At 6:00 a.m. the President of the G.C. Fausto Coppi, Alessandro Spada and town mayor Roberto Buda marked the start for the first grid, which was followed by further throngs of riders. There were 10,872 effective participants in the 2014 Nove Colli, including the front line made up of Italian National Team Coach Davide Cassani with the President of the Italian Cycling Federation – Federazione Ciclistica Italiana, Renato Di Rocco, the Dean for Senior Police Academy Roberto Sgalla and the flag bearers for Team Sportful Jury Chechi, Antonio Rossi and Pietro Piller Cottrer.
Thousands of people crowded the roads on the starting line, at the arrival and all along the route.
The race got off to a running start; the medium route was decided on the 3rd hill, the 74-km Ciola, where Matteo Cipriani (Infinity Cycling Team) caught up with the fugitive Michele Scotto D’Abusco; the two gained an advantage over their pursuers and then Cipriani took off by himself on the Barbotto. In the meantime, the chasers were gaining ground with n. 3 Tiziano Lombardi, 19 Bern Hornetz, 1 Ruberto Cunico, 258 Andrea Gallo, 7 Kris Hubert, 31 Federico Cerri, 24 Zanetti Igor, 5 Vincenzo Pisani, 10 Matteo Bordignon, 520 Matteo Podesta’, 853 Scotto D’Abusco, 1095 Devis Miorin and 65 Federico Castagnori.
For the medium route (130km) after the ascent on the Barbotto, Matteo Cipriani stayed out ahead alone and maintained an advantage of 1’20’’ all the way to Cesenatico. The podium was decided in an 11-man bunch sprint in which Matteo Cecconi prevailed over Leonardo Viglione; both these riders were respective winners of the medium route in 2013 and 2012.
Matteo Cipriani (Infinity Cycling Team) came in first, closing out the race at 3:34:29.92, with an average speed of 36.36. The bunch sprint to decide the rest of the podium came down to second place for Matteo Cecconi (Asd Effetto Ciclismo Fiano Romano), who arrived in Cesenatico in 3:35:50.31 at an average speed of 36.14. Closing out the podium was Leonardo Viglione (Team Ucsa) who arrived in 3:35:50.77 with the same average.
Among the ladies, Tentino’s Astrid Schartmuller (Gobbi-MG.K VIS-LGL-More Life Energy) crossed the finish line in first place after 3 hours, 47 minutes, 45 seconds and 11 milliseconds, travelling at an average speed of 34.25. Second place went to Olga Cappiello (Team Cinelli Santini), who closed out in 3:52:50.12 at an average 33.50. Third place for Claudia Gentili (Ale Cipollini Galassia) arriving in 3:53:30.80 at an average of 33.38.
Long Route 200km
As far as concerns the long route, at the 155 km mark on Passo delle Siepi the lead group was made up of the following 29 athletes: n. 1 Cunico, 31 Cerri, 65 Castagnoli, 258 Antonioli, 24 Zanetti, 62 Mencaroni, 4 Nikandrov, 10 Bordignon, 19 Hornetz, 3 Lombardi, 5 Pisani, 67 Elettrico, 520 Podesta’, 1094 Falzarano, 1095 Miorin, 688 Nucera, 6 Minuzzo, 57 Sanetti, 66 Pesciaroli, 60 Falasconi, 1151, 123 Cannella, 42 Sansoni, 12 Morrone, 63 Salimbeni, 7 Kris, 444 Galli, 11 Muraro and 34 Ortolani.
The race came to a climax on the Passo delle Siepi with a three-man break by n. 19 Hornetz, 57 Sanetti and n. 63 Luigi Salimbeni, who gained a 45″ advantage on the rest of the group.
At the final hill, the Gorolo, the Hornetz, Salimbeni and Sanetti trio had a 50″ advantage, followed by Falzarano and 2’10” ahead of the group. At the 177 km point Salimbeni petered out of the front and left the other two riders in the lead. Falzarano picked up the pace and passed a clocked time of 40″ at 1’30” with n. 31 Cerri and the pack following at 1’50”.
Falzarano shortened the distance and got as close as 10″, the group close behind at 1′, with Roberto Cunico leading the attack. Hornetz and Sanetti remained in the lead, Falzarano following by 12″, and closing in at 30″ were number 62 Luciano Mencaroni, 520 Matteo Podestà, 258 Andrea Galli, 3 Lombardi Tiziano, 10 Matteo Bordignon, 4 Nikandrov, 67 Elettrico, 65 Castagnoli, 5 Pisani, 24 Igor Zanetti, 31 Federico Cerri and 688 Nucera. On the descent from the Gorolo, Sanetti suffered a fall and only n. 19 Hornetz remained in the lead. At km187 Falzarano caught up with Hornetz.
At Savignano, km 194, the attackers regrouped and a pack of 15 riders took shape.
The final was explosive; there hasn’t been such a crowded bunch sprint here in years.
On Cesenatico’s beachfront the 44th edition of the granfondo Nove Colli was captured by Russian Dmitry Nikandrov (Team Kyklos Abruzzo) who won in 5:58:30.76 at an average speed of 34.31. Second place went to Italian Igor Zanetti (Cannondale – Gobbi – Fsa) 5:58:31.56, with the same average. Third step on the podium hosted Piedmont’s Andrea Gallo (Pedal Sport Canale) 5:58:32.82 same average.
Team Gobbi – MG – KVIS –LGL – More Life Energy completely dominated the women’s edition, taking all three steps on the podium. First place went to Marina Ilmer who came in after 06:29:54.65 at an average speed of 21.55; second place for her team mate Chiara Cuffini who arrived in Cesenatico in 06:35:49.83, average 31.07; third place to team mate Monica Banding, 06:43:42.72 at an average 30.47.