Becking and Ilina secure victory in the opening act of Appenninica 2023

Hans Becking secured the victory with Tiago Ferreira finishing as the runner-up, just like in 2020. However, on this 4th of September, the former teammates challenged each other in the opening stage of the 2023 Appenninica MTB Stage Race, which started and finished in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia). Becking and Ferreira were expected to be the primary contenders for the overall prize, and they demonstrated their intentions right from the start on the opening effort, “La Matildica“.

The battle was intense for almost 50 kilometers on the 57-kilometer route with an elevation gain of 1850 meters during the opening stage. Italian rider Martino Tronconi managed to keep pace with the leading duo until the final stretch of the race, where he was ultimately dropped and finished in third place. Five riders had set the pace at the start, with Dutchmen Bart Classens and Tim Smeenge briefly joining the frontrunners. However, around the 20-kilometer mark, the two Dutch riders lost ground and couldn’t regain the wake of the leaders.

Becking gradually built his lead over the last few kilometers. Following a daring descent just before the end, he put in a final surge on the last climb and crossed the finish line alone. In the men’s rankings, Becking leads with a time of 2:31:17, holding a 2’20” advantage over Ferreira and a 3’45” lead over Tronconi

Behind the podium, Classens and Smeenge maintained their positions as dark horses, with gaps of 11’27” and 12’34”, respectively. Lukas Kauffman (12’58”), Felix Fritzsch (15’34”), Holger Schaarschmidt (22’43”), Juul Van Loon (23’34”), and Lionel Poletti (23’43”) round out the top ten.

“I’m delighted to return to the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, and all the memories of my previous experiences and the breathtaking landscapes rushed back. I cherish this race with its challenging terrain and the high level of technical skill among the riders. It will be a demanding week, and tomorrow we already face the Queen Stage, a pivotal moment. Today, three of us set the pace, and I managed to launch an attack on a lengthy descent to secure the win,” said Hans Becking at the conclusion of the stage.


In the women’s category, Russian rider Kristina Ilina left her mark on the opening stage, finishing with a 36-second lead over Italian rider Debora Piana. Riding for the DMT Racing Team, Ilina kept up with the men’s peloton’s pace early on, and maintained her advantage until the finish line, crossing it after 3 hours, 20 minutes, and 12 seconds. Piana made an effort to catch up in the latter part of the stage but couldn’t completely bridge the gap with the leader, settling for the runner-up spot on the day.

Further behind this duo, Swiss cyclist Nina Brenn secured the third spot on the podium, trailing by 28 minutes and 59 seconds. Australian rider Imogen Smith (32’16”) and German cyclist Naima Diesner (35’02”), the winner of the past two editions of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, rounded out the top five.


I’m extremely satisfied with my start. I could immediately tell that this is a challenging race, especially with those highly technical descents, but it’s also incredibly enjoyable to ride. I didn’t want to fall behind, so I tried to keep pace with the men’s group, and I succeeded in breaking away. I’m curious about what lies ahead, as I’ve never raced in such a long stage race, and I don’t really know what to expect. I’ll give it my all,” said the victorious Kristina Ilina.


If today’s opening stage served as a warm-up, tomorrow, September 5th, marks the longest day of the week. The Mountain Queen Stage boasts a challenging 90 kilometers with an elevation gain of 3200 meters, covering the entire route at high altitude. The finish line in Fiumalbo will provide a clearer picture of the riders’ skills and aspirations in the overall standings. For those with big overall goals, the time for hiding is already over.

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The Appenninici – Lillo Lenzi, in love with the Apennines

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Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race many stories of sport and life can be found. Sophie Halhead, who made her second experience in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines in 2023 after taking part in the debut edition, recounts her transition from rugby to the world of mountain biking.

Third time’s the charm: Hans Becking returns to Appenninica for the hat trick

First Elite Man to win two editions of Appenninica MTB Stage Race, the Dutch defending champion of BUFF-Megamo will go for the hat trick from September 2 to 7, 2024. “This race has won my heart,” says Becking.

The Appenninica 2024 route: kicking off in Bologna with 14,000 meters of elevation gain

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Becking and Piana conquer Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023

The Dutch rider of Buff-Megamo is the first male athlete to win two editions of Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Becking sealed the overall win by raising arms again in the last stage, followed by Tiago Ferreira and Tim Smeenge, who join him on the podium in second and third position respectively. Debora Piana takes the women’s GC, while Ilina triumphs again in Vidiciatico. “We are really proud of the athletes’ feedback” said the organizers

Happy day for DMT Racing Team in Vidiciatico. Becking and Piana keep the lead

Tiago Ferreira went all-in in the penultimate stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race from Fanano to Vidiciatico, trying to pursue the leader’s jersey, but Becking kept everything under control. Same plot in the women’s category, with Russian Kristina Ilina taking her second win and Piana in control

Appenninica’s colour is Orange: Smeenge and Becking the stars of stage 4

The Dutch MTB Marathon National champion raises hands in Fanano, while Becking increases his gap in the GC on Tiago Ferreira. Debora Piana keeps dominating and makes it three in a row. Tomorrow, September 8th, the penultimate stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023 runs from Fanano to Lizzano in Belvedere

Becking and Piana strenghten their lead in Fiumalbo

The two leaders got the second win at Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023. The Dutch rider of Buff-Megamo Team sprinted over Tiago Ferreira, while things are getting spicy for the bronze medal, with four riders fighting for the third position. In the women’s field, the Italian of Team Cingolani-Specialized secured the leader jersey with another success in Fiumalbo over Ilina. Tomorrow, September 7th, the peloton heads to Fanano