The 50th edition of Nove Colli Gran Fondo in Italy on Sunday was a grand party for 9013 cyclists, but also filled with accidents and emergency rescues, including one rider who sustained spinal cord injuries and paraplegia after crashing.

Italian Metello Ricceri, 51 years old, fractured two cervical bones in his spinal column after crashing and was immediately evacuated by air ambulance to emergency room at hospital Bufalini.  His spinal cord injuries and associated paralysis is concerning to intensive care doctors, with his prognosis uncertain.  Doctors hope the trauma that causes him to be unable to move his limbs will improve over time. 

Three other cyclists also fell to serious trauma during the race.  One with a head injury requiring neurosurgery after the rider fell into a guard rail, one with blunt force trauma to the chest after crashing and a 55 year-old French foreign national who passed out while climbing an 18% gradient near Barbotto.  All were transported to hospital.

At the finish, many riders were also in medical distress with around 20 of those visiting the emergency room.

After avoiding any mishaps in the 205 kilometre Gran Fondo, Luca Chiesa crossed the finish line in 5:55:35 to win the Men’s race, with Fabio Cini and Stefano Bonanomi rounding out the podium.

For the Women’s race, Sonia Passutti 6:52:00 defeated Christian Rausch and Debora Morri to claim the top podium step. 

“Winning the Nove Colli, undisputed queen of the Granfondo, thrills me in an incredible way and is the crowning achievement of one of the dreams of my life. I struggle to hold back the tears, the atmosphere on the course was incredible, something magical,” Chiesa told TuttuBiciWeb afterwards.

The 130 kilometre Medio Fondo race saw Michela Bergozza win the Women’s competition in 3:57:16, followed by Lisa De Cesare and Cinzia Maraldi.  Andrea Pisetta won the Men’s race in 3:30:04, with Christian Dallago and Riccardo Zanrossi taking the next two places.

PHOTOS: CorriereRomanga

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