Pro cyclists may retire from the Pro peloton, but they never retire from riding or competing, it’s in their DNA to keep at it.

The organisers of the 50th edition of Nove Colli Gran Fondo in Italy know this and have launched a new race, “Nove Colli Ex-Pro Challenge,” just for ex-pro riders on 26 September.

We want to launch this race for former professionals who still want to ride, albeit in a less stressed climate than the competitions they were used to, and potentially add another coveted trophy to their already impressive palmarès.

Nove Colli

The days of ex-pros racing to win Italian gran fondos are long over, with the country’s national cycling body making former professionals ineligible for winnings and ranking points years ago.

But now ex-pros can commiserate, race and enjoy the thrill of competing once again with their own race, albeit in a less intense environment than the competitions they were used to during their career.

Of course, Pros get free entry with the organiser, no doubt, offering to host some of the bigger names. To sign up riders must send a participation “request” to

With Italy having more ex-pros than any other country expect a who’s who list of riders to toe the line in Cesenatico. Riders like Gianni Buono, Roberto Conti, Ivan Basso and Super Mario Cipollini just to name a few. Swiss legend Fabian Cancellara might even show up since the event is just a few hours drive from his home.

But do not expect to see Davide Rebellin, who at 50 years old is still racing Pro and ineligible.


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