Deadly floods wreaking havoc along the Italian Adriatic coast have forced the 52nd edition of Nove Colli gran fondo in Cesenatico to be cancelled. At least nine people are dead and thousand have been evacuated after torrential rains in Emilia-Romagna region have 21 rivers at record levels – and still rising.

Towns along this weekend’s planned gran fondo route have been devastated.

“It’s probably been the worst night in the history of Romagna,” Ravenna Mayor Michele de Pascale told Italy’s RAI public broadcaster. “Ravenna is unrecognisable for the damage it has suffered.”

The mayor of nearby Forli, Gian Luca Zattini, said his city was “on its knees, devastated and in pain,” AFP news agency reported.

Nove Colli organizer Andrea Agostini announced the cancellation on Wednesday:

“The Nove Colli is a celebration, but at this moment, there are no moral, structural, or practical conditions to celebrate anything. We are experiencing dramatic days with the images from Cesena, Cesenatico, and the entire hilly area that have affected us deeply. This morning we woke up and immediately understood that the Nove Colli race on Sunday cannot take place. Our first thoughts go to all the volunteers, members of the Civil Protection, and law enforcement who ensure the smooth running of the race. It is not feasible to divert resources from the region at this time, as it would neither be possible nor responsible.

Started in 1971, Nove Colli is the original and oldest gran fondo in the world. Agostini now plans to reschedule the legendary race for 24 September 2023, with the 9246 registered riders, including 1500 from abroad, automatically transferring their starting bibs to the new date.

Photo Credit: AP

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