Senni and Dietl take victory at the rescheduled 52nd edition of the Nove Colli
6,871 participants braved a rainy start and morning, but then the sun came out to brighten a day of celebration, sports, and solidarity. Over €10,000.00 donated to recovery of the Romagna region after terrible floods devasted the area.
The rain during the start and most of the morning didn't deter the participants of the Nove Colli. There were 6871 actual starters in this September version, necessitated by the postponement due to flooding. The event harked back to those May days with Fausto Coppi, who immediately turned this postponement into a grand celebration: a gathering to pedal together, endure the challenge, and raise precious funds for the recovery of the region.
There was a great rain on the climbs of the Nove Colli, with clouds and wind accompanying the riders for a significant portion of the course, particularly until mid-morning. The battle at the front positions evoked the atmosphere of a major Northern classic, with the Romagnolo spirit making it even more special. Manuel Senni added his artistic touch by winning the 170km race on his own. It had been since 1994, with Claudio Savini, that a cyclist from Cesenatico hadn't won the "long" version of the Nove Colli.
The first riders set off at 7 AM, still in the dark, and the very last one arrived at 4:51 PM, amid the best Nove Colli atmosphere. Sabatino Di Giuliano from Trieste completed the long route and was moved to tears by the applause from the crowd and the warm reception. For him – a 66-year-old informed engineer – there were music, toasts, gifts, and the certainty that all participants in this race are special.
For Senni, a former professional originally from Sala, this achievement had eluded him in the granfondo races, and it can be said that he has fulfilled a dream. Among the women, there was an outstanding performance from German cyclist Monika Dietl, who triumphed in the 170km race after finishing third last year.
In the men's 130km race, Ettore Carlini emerged as the victor – a former Under 23 rider from Abruzzo. He arrived at the finish line with his arms raised in solitude after animating one of the early breakaways and choosing the final kilometers for a decisive attack. A quarter of an hour later, it was Alessia Bortoli's turn, who won by a narrow margin over Olga Cappiello.
"I am extremely happy about this victory. On the course, I met many people waiting to greet me, and that gave me the motivation. Under the Barbotto climb, they had told me that the breakaway was ahead by 4 minutes, and honestly, I was discouraged. I pedaled at my own pace, pushed myself, and slowly but surely, I gained ground. On the Grillo climb, I went solo after catching up with everyone," commented Manuel Senni, winner of the 170km race.
"The race was extremely tough, and honestly, I didn't even believe I had won. It's a tremendous satisfaction and a great emotion to win a race like this," said Monika Dietl.
"Last year, I managed to finish second in the long race. This year, in June, I had an injury, so I decided to try the short course, and things went well. Winning the Nove Colli is an indescribable emotion," said Ettore Carlini, winner of the 130km race.
"I began to believe I could win once I reached the Barbotto climb. I believed in it from that point, and I am very happy that I succeeded. I practically won in a sprint finish, and it's a great satisfaction," commented Alessia Bortoli, winner of the 130km race.
On one hand, €10,000.00 were donated, along with the IOR, thanks to the performance of the #NoveColli4Romagna champions – Mondini, Cattaneo, Basso, and Gianetti, who finished in under six hours. On the other hand, thanks to the decision to donate all race profits to charity. This kept registrations open until the last moment, and the festive atmosphere at the Colonia Agip village was even more significant and joyful than usual.
Thus, the 52nd edition came to a close, already paving the way for the 53rd. The date is already set: Sunday, May 19, 2024, Cesenatico will be the only place to be if you love cycling.
VIDEO: Nove Colli 2023 Aftermovie
130 km Medio Fondo
Ettore Carlini (03:28:56) Angelo Martorelli (03:29:03) Fabio Orcame (03:29:03)
Alessia Bortoli (03:43:46) Olga Cappiello (03:44:12) Giulia Medri (03:47:49)
170 km Gran Fondo
Manuel Senni (04:33:10) Luca Chiesa (04:36:12) Luca Raggio (04:39:39)
Monika Dietl (05:24:29) Sonia Passuti (05:31:54) Elisa Benedet (05:37:48)