New format, same calendar spot: Appenninica looks forward to 2023

The great mountain bike stage race challenge in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines trims its race days to six. The 2023 edition will take place from September 4 to 9; registration opens on December 1

The organizers of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race don’t like standing still. Following a 2022 edition, which earned excellent feedback from the world at large, the stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines has already set the dates to be circled in red by champions and fans alike. The fifth edition of Italy’s most important MTB stage race will take place from September 4-9, 2023.

The dates reveal the first significant new development for the 2023 edition. The ASD Happy Trail MTB organizers have opted for a new 6-day race format instead of the previous seven, while maintaining the usual calendar dates in the first half of September. This choice was made to favor athletes in terms of logistics, and for a smoother race execution. Even with this new format, the appeal of one of the most challenging international races – as recognized by athletes and insiders alike – remains untouched.

The 2022 edition has consolidated our growth. For this reason, we wanted to introduce a new format that won’t change the nature of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race but will allow us to improve some aspects at the logistical level, and also meet the needs of athletes, as well as improve the race experience. For 2023 there will be six stages instead of seven, but the setting in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines will be unchanged, as will the difficulty and epic nature of the challenge conceived by Appenninica. We believe it can enhance the event’s value,” said Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno, co-organizers of the stage race.

The countdown to registration kicks off with the announcement of the 2023 dates. The “Early Bird” phase will officially open on Thursday, December 1, and end on December 31. Only fifty slots will be available at a reduced price during this period. Appenninica is a full-service race, and the entry fee not only includes the race number but also accommodations, meals, transfers between the stages, and other services. The entry fee will then increase in subsequent steps from January 1.

As for the last four editions, the organizers have confirmed the solo racer format and the number of race participants set to a maximum of 150. This number is aimed at avoiding overcrowding on the trails and ensuring a high standard of quality support for all participants.

Arias and Diesner put their final stamp on the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race

The two overall victors also took the last stage starting and finishing in Vidiciatico, in the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere. There were ninety-six finishers in an exciting edition experienced by athletes from 28 nations who came to discover the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna

They were the strongest racers all week and they wanted to punctuate this fact in the final stage as well. The 37-kilometer stage featured 1550 meters of climbing with start and finish from Vidiciatico in the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere. The fourth edition of 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race ended on Saturday, September 10Diego Arias and Naima Diesner were the winners.

The Colombian racer from the Hubbers-Polimedical team started out as a race favorite and he proved to be the strongest each day. This was true in the seventh stage as well, which Arias finished in 1:56:13. The general classification leader wanted to make his mark from the start by forging a white-hot pace on the trails of Monte PizzoMiguel Munoz Moreno (DMT Racing Team) finished 3:57 behind the leader with Felix Fritzsch down by 5:50 from Arias.

Arias’ debut at Appenninica was crowned with five stage wins and the victory in the general classification. The Colombian racer finished all seven stages totaling almost 450 kilometers with 16,000 meters of climbing in 22:05:11. Behind him were the two DMT Racing Team riders, with Portugal’s Francisco Filipe in second at 34:42, and Spain’s Miguel Munoz Moreno in third at 1:08:05. Completing the top five spots at the 2022 Appenninica were Dutchman Gosse van der Meer (Euro Cycling) in fourth, and Federico Mandelli (Piraz Coaching MTB Academy) in fifth. Mandelli was also the first Italian in the GC.

“I came out of the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race with good legs, I managed the race well during all seven stages. It was a very nice week in a fantastic area with a mixed course full of climbs. I’m happy to have had this experience and next year, I hope to come back and defend the title. Now I head to the MTB marathon world championships – I think there’s no better preparation for the rainbow challenge,” was Diego Arias’ final comment after winning.


Having beaten the competition last year, Naima Diesner came back to prove herself in the 2022 edition. Diesner won the women’s general classification for the second consecutive year – this time leaving nothing to her rivals. Having won all seven stages like Esther Süss did in 2020, she finished her effort with a final time of 30:48:27.

Diesner also won the final stage in 2:45:42, with a margin of 12:31 over Debora Lana and 20:51 over Camilla Marinelli at the finish in Lizzano in Belvedere. The two Italians also finished second and third respectively in the general classification with more than an hour down from the German BUFF-Megamo racer. Completing the women’s top five were Elena Novikova in fourth place, and Rozanne Slik in fifth.


“It was a wonderful adventure again this year, I am delighted to have won. For me the Appenninica MTB Stage Race is like a family, I love the atmosphere of friendship after the hard work in the stages, it makes me feel at home. I can’t wait to come back again next year,” Naima Diesner said as she finished the week as the absolute star.


Not only was there a race for the men’s and women’s rankings in the GC, the Appenninica MTB Stage Race was also a week of battles in three other race categories: Master (over 40), Grand Master (over 50), and Great Grand Master (over 60).

In the Masters, the overall winner was the Russian Andrey Dianov ahead of Francesco Gaffuri and Thomas Jauner. Winning the Grand Master category was Slovenia’s Peter Vesel, while Italians Paolo Viglione and Federico Celeghini completed the podium in second and third place. There was another Slovenian victory in the Great Grand Master category, where Aleš Boben won ahead of Evžen Reitschläger and Raffaele Verzella.


With 28 nations represented at the start in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, Appenninica made a name for itself as the perfect promotional event for the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna. Participants will remember the picturesque landscapes and regional culinary delights worthy of a postcard that have become the winning formula to grow the event year after year.

“Once again this year, we’ve managed to satisfy the participants, which confirms the good work we’ve done over the past few years. The Appenninica MTB Stage Race is increasingly recognized and valued at an international level – this is also thanks to the experience as expressed by past participants. The goal is to continue along this path by offering a race that is increasingly a mix of competition and adventure – a tough and demanding challenge to be experienced immersed in the beauty of the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna,” was the final word from co-organizers of A.s.d. Happy Trail MTB, Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi.

Encore for Munoz Moreno in Lizzano. Arias and Diesner still leaders

The Spanish racer from the DMT Racing Team sprints to his second stage win at the finish in Lizzano in Belvedere in the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Arias and Filipe complete the podium of the “Il Corno” stage. Sixth victory in six stages for Naima Diesner in the women’s race.

Miguel Munoz Moreno performed an encore in Lizzano in Belvedere. After his win in Fanano, the Spanish racer of the DMT Racing Team took his second stage victory of the 2022 edition of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race on Friday, September 9. For the women, Naima Diesner took her sixth victory of this edition in the Il Corno stage, featuring 59 kilometers and 2600 meters of elevation gain, which started from Porretta Terme.

It was a sprint victory for Munoz Moreno, who outsprinted Diego Arias and teammate, Francisco Filipe, to finish in 3:14:56. Riding together, the trio set the pace from the race’s first kilometers. The Spaniard took the lead on the descent from Lago Scaffaiolo to the finish, which was a winning decision because it allowed him to get out in front of his chasers in the narrow streets of Lizzano in Belvedere.

The general classification remains unchanged with Diego Arias holding his position as leader. The Colombian’s advantage over Filipe, who’s second in the general classification, is 27:15, while today’s winner is firmly in third place in the GC with a time gap of 1:04:09.

“It was a hard stage with a lot of tough climbs,” Munoz Moreno said after winning the stage. “I wanted the victory, and I pushed right from the start. We were three and I set my own pace. With three kilometers to go I attacked for the first time, but it was in the second attack that I managed to take the lead and win the sprint. Too bad about the crash on the second day because I think I could have gone for the overall victory.”

“It was a beautiful stage that we rode at a high pace. Munoz Moreno was clever to pass me in the last few corners, congratulations to him,” commented general classification leader, Diego Arias.


A new stage, a new victory for Naima Diesner. The German racer of the BUFF-Megamo team achieved her sixth victory out of six stages at the Appenninica by crossing the finish line in Lizzano in Belvedere with a time of 4:19:07. Behind her was Debora Lana at 11:03 back, while third was once again Elena Novikova14:12 behind the German rider.

Diesner’s goal now is to complete the 2022 Appenninica by winning all the stages, as Esther Süss did in 2020. She seems to have the general classification all locked up, while behind her there’s a fight for second place between Debora Lana and Camilla Marinelli. Thanks to today’s result, Lana is now second with a lead of only 8:50 over Marinelli. The last stage will decide who of the two will take second in the GC.

“It was another good stage that I remembered from last year. I set my own pace for the race, and even today, I finished with a smile,” remarked Naima Diesner at the finish.


The final stage of the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race is a 37-kilometer circuit with 1550 meters of climbing, with start and finish in Vidiciatico, in the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere. The Monte Pizzo isn’t only the final stage, it’s a stage full of pitfalls to manage before one can win the finisher’s medal. The athletes will tackle the Cuplina trail twice and the Albaré singletrack descent once. The final celebration will take place at the Piscina Conca del Sole in Vidiciatico.

Arias wins again, Diesner breaks a record

In stage 5, the general classification leader takes his fourth victory at the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race from Fanano to Porretta Terme. Behind him the DMT Racing Team duo of Munoz Moreno and Filipe claim second and third place respectively. With her eighth consecutive victory, Naima Diesner writes her own page in the race’s history boo

Diego Arias and Naima Diesner once again staked their claim as the masters of the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Their triumphant rides rolled onward with victory in a fifth stage that added up 60 kilometers with 1,700 meters of elevation gain from Fanano to Porretta Terme on Thursday, September 8.

After Miguel Munoz Moreno’s victory in Fanano, the Hubbers-Polimedical racer came back to dominate in Porretta Terme. Arias completed his effort in 2:39:17 – 3:09 ahead of the Spaniard from the DMT Racing Team and 7:04 ahead of Francisco Filipe. The men’s GC leader set the pace from the first part of the race and soloed to the win at the finish line.

Riding in chase behind Arias was Felix Fritzsch along with the DMT Racing Team duo. Fritzsch unfortunately had to surrender his spot due to a mechanical problem and he paid the price: 1:19:35 down from the leader at the finish line. The German’s result has renewed the battle in the general classification. Filipe claimed second place behind Arias at 27:14 back, while in third place was his teammate at 1:04:11 behind the Colombian.

“Today I felt very good again; yesterday I preferred to save my energy. I took advantage on a very slippery climb and tried to go it alone, at my own pace. I also enjoyed the scenery, I am happy with this fourth victory and to have increased my lead in the general classification,” Diego Arias explained at the finish.


It was in the air and so it happened: Naima Diesner scored her fifth victory – her eighth consecutive win at the Appenninica, thus breaking the record of consecutive wins (7) held by Esther Süss after the 2020 edition. The German racer from the BUFF-Megamo team won in 3:40:39, with a lead of 10:59 over Elena Novikova and 12:58 over Rozanne Slik at the finish line in Porretta Terme.

Diesner’s next goal will be to hit the streak of seven wins out of seven in the same edition, which is currently held by Süss. The German racer has secured the general classification with more than an hour ahead of Camilla Marinelli and Debora Lana.

“Today is a special day and I am happy with this record. It was a very beautiful stage, full of ups and downs with beautiful scenery,” said Naima Diesner.


Coming up is the penultimate effort for the Appenninica athletes, who will reach Lizzano in Belvedere from Porretta Terme by way of 63 kilometers and 2700 meters of elevation gain. Within the first 30 kilometers they will be deep in untouched forest trails absent of human settlements, but the route will become difficult after km 37. The day’s most demanding climb is the one heading up to the Passo dello Strofinatoio (6 km with 600 meters of elevation), with a hike-a-bike section in the last 500 meters. The final stretch is downhill to the finish in Lizzano in Belvedere.

Munoz Moreno takes the day in Fanano. Diesner poised for a record ride

The Spanish racer from the DMT Racing Team wins the Pippo Yeah 2.0 ahead of leader Arias, who consolidated his lead over his immediate rivals. Third place on the day went to Francisco Filipe. Naima Diesner confirms herself as the undisputed queen among the women

After the efforts of the High Mountain Queen Stage, it was time for some pure fun at the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. The “Pippo Yeah 2.0,” designed by the famous trail builder, Pier Paolo “Pippo” Marani, was the star of the stage on Wednesday, September 7. At the finish line in Fanano, it was Miguel Munoz Moreno, who won the men’s race, and Naima Diesner, who won the women’s race.

After a fall in Stage 2, the Spanish racer from the DMT Racing Team had his day when he proudly crossed the finish line in Piazza Corsini in Fanano with a time of 3:02:27. Behind him, the general classification leader, Diego Arias, controlled the situation and arrived at the finish just 1:48 back from the stage winner. The Hubbers-Polimedical rider, however, gained time in the standings, as the other DMT Racing Team athlete, Francisco Filipe, arrived at the finish line 8:21 behind his teammate.

Immediately after the start, Diego Arias rode in support of fellow teammate, Filippo Bertone, who tried to attack from a distance. However, it wasn’t the Italian’s day, because Miguel Munoz Moreno had already planned his revenge and, on the climb to the Colombino Pass, Munoz Moreno waved goodbye to the group. Behind him, his teammate, Francisco Filipe, continued along with Diego Arias until they reached the second climb to the Passo della Croce Arcana, where the Portuguese racer could no longer cling to the leader’s wheels.

Arias now has a lead of 20:11 over Filipe in the general classification. Behind them, Munoz Moreno promises a fight for the podium. The Spaniard has a time gap of 1:01:01 from the leader, and promises to take aim at third place in the general classification – currently held by Felix Fritzsch, who’s down 26:50 from the Colombian race leader.

“Nice day and nice stage, I had fun,” Miguel Munoz Moreno said after his victory. “This morning I felt good, I had good legs, and I decided to try attacking on the first climb from further back. It was a very physical and very technical stage; it suited my abilities. I still feel good, and I will try to attack in the coming days to get on the podium.”


Also satisfied at the finish was Arias, who further consolidated his lead in the general classification. “I tried to help my teammate, Bertone, get away in the first part, then I controlled it until the finish. Nice stage.”


Naima Diesner took her fourth stage victory in this edition, and her seventh consecutive victory at Appenninica considering the three wins in the final three stages of the last edition. If the German racer for the Buff-Megamo team wins again tomorrow in Porretta Terme, she would beat the record of consecutive victories held by Esther Süss, the undisputed ruler in 2019 with seven out of seven victories.

Diesner completed the “Pippo Yeah 2.0” in 4:24:44 with a 9:14 lead over Camilla Marinelli (Bike and Fun Team) and 12:59 over Debora Lana. Both racers will maintain their positions in the general classification, unchanged at more than an hour behind the leader.

“Another beautiful stage, I went at my own pace, I didn’t want to overdo it after yesterday’s efforts. This morning my dad sent me a message and suggested that I enjoy this experience to the maximum. I didn’t know about this record, now I will have a bit more pressure for tomorrow’s stage,” said an always smiling Naima Diesner at the finish.


With its 67 kilometers and 2,200 meters of elevation gain, the “Gothic Line” is the second longest stage in the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Tomorrow the racers will enter the Province of Bologna by going from Fanano to Porretta Terme and following the route of the Gothic Line, a key setting during the Second World War.

After the start, the racers will climb back up to Fellicarolo and then return to the valley of the Ospitale. From there a series of ups and downs will take the athletes to the final climb to reach the picturesque village of Monteacuto delle Alpi. Two technical descents in the final kilometers will challenge riders before the finish in Porretta Terme.