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Top Italian football manager takes cycling challenge after relegation bet

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Top Italian football manager takes cycling challenge after relegation bet

FC Crotone manager Davide Nicola is making good on a promise to cycle the length of Italy after his team avoided relegation on the final day of the season.

After his team recorded its first away win of the season, Nicola made the promise on April 7th ahead of a daunting final run of matches which included run-ins with both Milan clubs and Juventus.

The Calabria-based club went on to take 17 points from their final eight matches, losing only to Serie A champions Juventus and securing their safety with a 3-1 victory over Lazio on the final matchday.

The cross-country trek also holds major personal significance for the manager. It will conclude in Vigone where his son 14-year-old son Alessandro was killed in 2014 in a motor accident while he was cycling.

Nicola captured the hearts of Italy after penning an emotional open letter to his late son after leading Crotone away from relegation.

The escape was even more improbable given the early season turmoil at the club. The manager and many of the players who led the club to its first ever promotion to Serie A left the club and their ‘home’ matches were played 1000 kilometres away in Pescara for the first two months of the season while their stadium was brought up to top-league requirements.

The 44-year-old former defender began his 1300-kilometre journey on June 9th from Crotone, visiting places from his playing days and managerial career such as Bari, Genoa and Turin.

The entire trip should take about 10 days but Nicola endeared himself to Crotone and Italian football supporters long before his ride will conclude.