The Colombian strengthened his lead, but Francisco Filipe and Felix Fritzsch wouldn’t give up. Miguel Munoz Moreno lost ground due to a crash. Among the women it was a solo by Diesner, with Camilla Marinelli and Debora Lana as the German racer’s only rivals

The Bismantova Rock confirmed the verdict handed down in the first stage: Diego Arias and Naima Diesner seem to be the strongest opponents in the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. The two general classification leaders tried to stuff more time into the GC by imposing leads in the second stage with start and finish in Castelnovo ne’ Monti on Monday, September 5.

The second stage sorted and ranked the men’s field. Once again Diego Arias dominated the stage, called “The Rock,” which stretched 62 kilometers with 2350 meters of elevation gain, with a time of 3:21:25. Arias finished 4:20 ahead of the duo composed of Francisco Filipe (DMT Racing Team) and Felix Fritzsch (R2 MTN CREW), who appeared more energetic than in the opening stage.

The three lead racers along with Miguel Munoz Moreno (DMT Racing Team) set the pace from the start. Same as on Sunday, the Colombian racer from the Hubbers-Polimedical team began to build up his lead around the race’s halfway point. By the time he reached the Ventasso pass, Arias was already more than a minute ahead. Behind him only Fritzsch and Filipe remained in pursuit as they tried to control the damage, while Munoz Moreno lost ground after a crash.

Not even a skid on a slippery section interfered with Arias’s determination; he was able to easily consolidate his lead in the general classification. The Hubbers-Polimedical rider now leads with an advantage of 8:21 over Francisco Filipe and 13:33 over last year’s winner, Felix Fritzsch. The toughest part of 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race is yet to come, however, and so much can still happen.

 

“Today I started with the idea to defend myself rather than attack, but at a certain point, I felt that I had good legs and continued with my rhythm,” Diego Arias explained at the finish line. “I tried not to risk more than I had to, and it went well. I’m happy with how I feel and how I’m handling the race. I slipped in a wet section on a small wooden bridge, but fortunately everything was ok. Today’s course was beautiful, with beautiful scenery.”

NAIMA DIESNER CONTINUES TO LEAVE HER MARK

The gap forged by Naima Diesner (Buff-Megamo Team) in the women’s race is even more impressive. Right from the first kilometers, no rival was able to match pace with the German rider, who finished her race in Castelnovo ne’ Monti with a time of 4:44:18. Behind her, Camilla Marinelli (ASD Bike and Fun Team) tried to keep up but she paid another 26 minutes to Diesner in the general.

After an excellent performance in Stage 1, Debora Lana increased the gap between her and the race leader and was forced to surrender her place on today’s podium and in the general classification to Elena Novikova. The Ukrainian finished 30:01 down from the stage winner and is now third overall at almost an hour behind Naima Diesner. Camilla Marinelli was second at 45 minutes 54 seconds behind the leader.

“It was quite a fast stage that I rode at the front – with a lot of climbs, especially in the first part,” Naima Diesner explained. “There was a lot of beautiful scenery, and I really enjoyed the final kilometers. I’m happy to have won again but now it’s important to recover well because tomorrow is the High Mountain Queen Stage, and we know how hard that is.”

THE STAGE OF TRUTH ARRIVES: IT’S TIME FOR THE HIGH MOUNTAIN QUEEN STAGE

If the first two stages served to warm up the legs, the third stage from Castelnovo ne’ Monti to Fanano will leave nowhere to hide. 105 kilometers with 3650 meters of elevation gain are in order for the High Mountain Queen Stage, the toughest and most feared stage in the Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

Much of the route runs 1500 meters above sea level on the trails of the Alta Via dei Parchi. After a fairly easy start, the day’s first climb toward the Passo della Cisa will begin to sort the racers, while the subsequent climbs over Monte Giovarello and the Passo Radici will bring the athletes up to elevation. From there they will continue at elevation to the Pian Cavallaro and then swoop down toward the finish line in Piazza Corsini in Fanano.