Nove Colli - part 3 - the start

An Italian sportive is a mass start - and they don't get much more massy than the Nove Colli - 12,000 at 6am on a Sunday morning.  To add to complications the start grid is in and around a big road junction and bridge (closed for the occasion), alongside a canal and actually bisected by a railway line; couldn't get much more complicated!

Brief interruption to start procedure

For the Nove Colli the start is actually a series of separate mass starts with may be 2,000 going off at a time.  These masses are groups down the sliproads, carparks and town streets of Cesenatico and then set off at intervals.  When you enter you get a number and that indicates which start group to join - but even so get there early if you want to be at the front.

One of two slip road groups

The groups are held back by a gate - here's one of the last
 groups getting the start