There might have been a moment, in the midst of his bike ride across the whole of Italy, when Crotone manager Davide Nicola, 44, thought the feat he had promised to accomplish was actually unachievable. His legs heavy, his look discouraged, he might have gazed for a few seconds at the spectacular Italian scenery, before realising he had overcome higher obstacles and finding an unexpected boost. Just as his team did.
Crossing the country on a bike in a 1,300 kilometre trip was just the side effect of one of the most incredible escapes Serie A has seen in years — the manager had vowed to cycle his way from Crotone to Turin, his hometown, if the team achieved safety, at a time, when he was probably the only one to believe such an achievement was possible. By April 1, Crotone had reached just 14 points but – inspired by their Coach – the team gathered incredible momentum from that time onwards. A sensational run of 20 points from 27 available saw them complete the most miraculous of recoveries to preserve their Serie A status.
And why the bike ride? Almost three years earlier, his 14-year-old son, Alessandro, was crushed to death on his bike by a bus. A few days after his side’s safety, the manager would write in a Facebook post: “We’ve been fighting together in this complicated season, but now I know you've always been here with me. With your energy, you gave me the strength to keep chasing the impossible. I would’ve liked to have celebrated it with you, to look you in the eyes, to see your smile, to take your hand and run together in celebration. Everything I do is for you, everything I achieve is yours, every dream I have is yours.”