Crotone coach Davide Nicola fulfilled his promise to his players that he would be cycling the entire 1,300km distance to his hometown in Turin if the team escaped the drop to Serie B.
Despite a 2-1 win at Chievo — the team’s first-ever Serie A away win — two months ago, Crotone had remained poised for relegation from Serie A to Italy’s second division in their Italian top-flight debut.
Nicola made the promise at the time that he would complete the challenge should his players be able to secure survival for the Serie A survivors.
And the promise seems to have the intended effect; with just 14 points from 29 games, they managed to find their form to win six of their last nine matches and finished on 34 points, two points above the relegation zone.
Despite their remarkable late run, the side began the final day of the season in the bottom three, but thanks to a surprise 3-1 win over Lazio and Empoli’s defeat by Palermo Crotone survived their maiden top-flight campaign.
The coach was greeted by about 300 people after he completed his journey from Crotone, in the southern Italian region of Calabria, to Turin after nine days of of cycling from the southern Italian region of Calabria.
“Am I tired? I still do not feel any particular pain,” he told reporters after his long trek. “From tomorrow I will have a better idea and maybe I will feel a bit tired.”
“What matters most to me is that my goal has been achieved. I kept the promise and, with the help of many people, we have also attracted the attention of many people to the question of safety on the roads. Here in Turin I was greeted with great enthusiasm: I am very excited.”
Nikola himself also has individual motivations about road safety stemming back from when his 14-year-old son, Alessandro, was killed when a bus hit the back wheel of his bicycle close to his home, in July 2014.