Billed as the oldest Gran Fondos in the world, with 10,000+ riders annually, The Nove Colli Gran Fondo cycling event is a long-distance cycling race in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The race was first held in 1971 and was originally created to honor the legendary Italian cyclist Marco Pantani, born in the nearby town of Cesenatico. Over the years, the event has grown in popularity and is now considered one of the world’s most challenging and prestigious cycling events. Strambecco rates the event as one of the Best Gran Fondos in Italy. Unfortunately, the 2023 event that normally takes place in May is being postponed until September due to severe and destructive flooding in the region.
There are three route options: The “Nove Colli” is 200k and 3,880 Meters of elevation gain, 130k and 1,870 meters of elevation gain, and a 60k route with 650 Meters of elevation gain. All the routes begin and end in the ancient coastal town of Cesenatico for an unforgettable start at dawn with thousands of your “closest friends”. Each course takes riders through the rolling hills and picturesque countryside of the Emilia-Romagna region. The “Nove Colli” route features nine major climbs, including the iconic Barbotto climb, which reaches an elevation of 1,024 meters. Don’t forget to stick around after the race for the pasta party! Nove Colli Gran Fondo is also a family event with the Nove Colli Mini event taking place in the afternoon for kids aged 7-14 years old.
This famous and well loved race is revered by even the pros with Vincenzo Nibali noting, “The Nove Colli is a reference point for all cyclosportives at an international level” and Alberto Contador remarking “The Nove Colli has a unique history and charm which is well-known all over the world thanks to its 47 editions. Starting the race at dawn with 12,000 fellow cyclists is priceless. One day I hope I’ll be at the start to enjoy the warmth of the people from Romagna.” The race is so popular, some years it sells out all 12,000 bib numbers within minutes.
Cesenatico is a town on Italy’s Adriatic coast in the Emilia-Romagna region. The town is known for its beautiful beaches and rich history, dating back to the Roman era. The surrounding region is characterized by rolling hills and scenic countryside, with numerous small towns and villages dotted throughout the landscape. The Nove Colli Gran Fondo takes riders through some of the region’s most beautiful and challenging terrains, with stunning coastal views and the Apennine Mountains.
For lodging and accommodations, event partner Giro Hotels has curated a list of cyclist friendly hotels that include services such as secure bike storage, on-site bike mechanics, and breakfast for athletes starting at 4am. If you’d prefer to leave you bike at home, ListNRide has you covered with top of the line rentals.