New day, new stage, same result: Hans Becking and Tiago Ferreira keep being number 1 and 2 of this Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023. In the third stage held today, 6th September, with 79 km and 2350 m of elevation gain starting and finishing in Fanano, crossing the border with Tuscany for the very first time, the Dutch athlete of Buff-Megamo Team left his second mark of this edition, closely chased by the Portuguese of DMT Racing Team.
Their pace seemed once again too high for all other riders, and the fil-rouge of the race followed the pevious days’ once. After a group start with the leading duo, Bart Classens, Lukas Kaufmann and Tim Smeenge, Becking and Ferreira dropped the opponents once passed the Abetone area in the Ducale della Foce climb, and arrived together in 3:46:52.
Behind them, the fight for bronze is getting spicy. Bart Classens took today’s third place with a 4’00 gap, followed by Lukas Kaufmann (4th, X:XX) and Tim Smeenge (5th, X:XX). In the GC, Becking leads with 2’19” on Ferreira, while there are four riders chasing the last step on the podium. Dutch National MTB Marathon champion Smeenge is the new temporary third place (25’44”): fellow Dutchman Bart Classens is only 4” behind, while Lukas Kaufmann and Martino Tronconi trail by less than 5’ from the third place.
“The race is hard and very technical, but I’m in the position that I wanted to be halfway in the week. We are both there on the same level, it will be a matter of details and the final outcome can still change a lot. I can’t point out what will be the decisive moment, we might even get to the last stage with this gap and the we will have to see in the last kilometers”, argued Becking at the finish line.
DEBORA PIANA TAKES OFF IN THE WOMEN’S CATEGORY
Second consecutive win for Debora Piana of Team Cingolani-Specialized. The Italian brought home both stages with finish line in Fiumalbo on September 5th and 6th, first taking the leader jersey and then securing it with a solid X:XX gap on the first chaser on Russian Kristina Ilina.
In the third stage, Piana showed great shape and immediately got a little advantage on Ilina since the start, but the DMT Racing Team rider got back and took the lead at about the first Feed Zone (km 29). However, the Italian athlete rode her way back in the leading position and didn’t look back, finishing in X:XX . Ilina arrived second with X:XX gap, while Swiss athlete Nina Brenn, third place in each stage and in the GC, ended her day X.XX behind Piana.
“It’s great to have confirmed yesterday’s win in the Queen Stage with another strong performance. I probably could have earned even more time on the second place, but I’m still really happy with my day. I’m looking forward to having more fun in the upcoming days”, said Piana at the end.
FROM FIUMALBO TO FANANO: IT’S TIME FOR THE CIMONE CHALLENGE
Stage 4 on September 7th, will take the peloton from Fiumalbo to Fanano through 62 km and 2350 m of elevation gain. The “Cimone Challenge” will take place almost entirely in the Mount Cimone Ski area, with a first ascent towards Pian Cavallaro, before the one leading to Sestola and Serre Pass. The finish line is in the heart of Fanano, right after the Fellicarolo climb.