Castelnovo ne’ Monti and the Bismantova Rock welcome back the Appenninica show

Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) has established over the years as a must-be location for Appenninica MTB Stage Race. From the base of its majestic Bismantova Rock, the MTB Marathon stage race (4th – 9th September, 2023) will kick off its fifth edition.

A total of 150 athletes from 24 nations are prepared to take on the Appenninica challenge in its renewed 6-stage format, aiming to secure the coveted finisher’s medal and possibly the overall victory. Among the favorites in the men’s field are 2020 winner Hans Becking and Portuguese rider Tiago Ferreira, who benefits from a strong teammate in Andreas Miltiadis, ready to contend for the title. Another potential contender is Martino Tronconi, although his teammate Nicola Taffarel was a late scratch from the race due to a last-minute injury.

Other riders with top ambitions include Felix Fritzsch and Lukas Kaufmann, winners of the Appenninica in 2021 and 2019, as well as Dutchmen Tim Smeenge (XCM National champion) and Bart Classens, who was among the leading riders in 2021.

In the women’s category, back-to-back champion Naima Diesner is the clear favorite for the overall victory. Her main rival is expected to be Russian MTB Marathon champion Kristina Ilina, with growing attention on Swiss rider Nina Brenn, who recently showcased excellent form at the Swiss Epic. Italian hopes rest with Deborah Piana, who secured second place at the 2023 National Marathon championships.

Today, September 3rd, the Appenninca MTB Stage Race program was opened by “Appenninica Lovers”, a non-competitive MTB and e-MTB gathering on the route of stage 1. Organized by MTB Vetto, the event acted as a true mountain bike festival and a fitting warm-up for the atmosphere in Castelnovo ne’ Monti.


Appenninica 2023 covers approximately 400 km and includes a challenging 14,000 meters of elevation gain from Castelnovo ne’ Monti to Lizzano in Belvedere, passing through new locations like Fiumalbo and another long-standing host, Fanano.

This edition marks the introduction of a new 6-stage format, as opposed to the previous 7. This decision by the Happy Trail MTB organization aims to simplify logistics for the athletes while preserving the route’s remarkable difficulty, which has earned the Appenninica MTB Stage Race global recognition over the past five years.

The journey begins on Monday, September 4th, from Castelnovo ne’ Monti, covering 57 km with an altitude difference of 1,850 meters. It commences from the foot of the Bismantova Rock and traverses the lands of Matilda di Canossa.

Only one stage into the race, and the Queen Stage awaits on Tuesday, September 5th. While shorter (90 km) than previous editions, it remains a demanding stage with a 3200-meter altitude difference to conquer before reaching the finish line in Fiumalbo.

There’s no time to rest, as on Wednesday, September 6th, riders will face a circuit around Fiumalbo that will once again test their ambitions. The “Tuscany Incipit” is a highlight of the 2023 edition, taking the race across the border into Tuscany at the Abetone ski resort, featuring a 79 km course with 2550 meters of altitude difference.

Thursday, September 7th, brings Stage 4, with Mount Cimone as the focal point. The “Cimone Challenge” route starts from Fiumalbo and concludes in Fanano, covering 62 km with a 2350-meter elevation gain.

The subsequent stage on Friday, September 8th, from Fanano to Vidiciatico, embodies the true spirit of Appenninica. “Appenninica Distilled” encompasses 61 km and 2500 meters of altitude difference, offering a mix of the race’s best elements: long but manageable climbs, technical descents, and breathtaking landscapes.

The grand finale is set for Saturday, September 9th, in the “Monte Pizzo” stage. This 36 km loop with 1500 meters of elevation gain starts and finishes in Vidiciatico, a hamlet of Lizzano in Belvedere, serving as the ultimate judge of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, much like in 2022.

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

Ferreira and Piana tame the Mountain Queen Stage

The Portuguese athlete of DMT Racing Team answered back to Becking’s success in the opening stage, while Tronconi and Smeenge remain in contention behind them. Debora Piana took the win and the lead in the women’s category. Tomorrow, September 6th, marks the first-ever border crossing from Emilia-Romagna to Tuscany for the race, with the stage starting and finishing again in Fiumalbo

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

The Dutch rider from Team Buff-Megamo the Russian of DMT Racing Team have made an impact on the inaugural stage of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Completing the men’s podium were Tiago Ferreira and Martino Tronconi, while Debora Piana and Nina Brenn claimed spots on the women’s top-3. Tomorrow, September 5th, comes the anticipated Queen Stage

Castelnovo ne’ Monti and the Bismantova Rock welcome back the Appenninica show

The program of the MTB stage race (4-9 September) was anticipated by the “Appenninica lovers” Granfondo. Starting from tomorrow, the main event will kick off with Hans Becking and Tiago Ferreira leading the title race, while Naima Diesner emerges as the top contender in the Women’s field

With 150 riders from all continents, the Appenninica challenge goes global

Approaching its fifth edition (September 4-9, 2023), Appenninica MTB Stage Race – the mountain bike stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, Italy – is set to showcase 150 athletes hailing from 24 Nations, marking a sold-out status. This year, the event introduces an innovative initiative: Appenninica Teen Camp

Miguel Martinez leads the charge of “The Appenninici”

Cross-country gold medalist from the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Miguel Martinez, is set to kick off the 2023 Appenninica MTB Stage Race (September 4-9, 2023). A multitude of riders will converge for this stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, seeking a distinctive adventure filled with a treasure trove of stories and anecdotes.

Riders bulletin n.6/2023

Riders bulletin n.6 August 29, 2023   This is the sixth rider bulletin. These bulletins will provide useful information, news, and mandatory action reminders. Race time is Sunday!   The starting list is on the website. Click here. The event is sold out....

The Appenninica MTB Stage Race partners’ squad keeps growing stronger

In its fifth edition, scheduled from September 4th to 9th, the race has further stocked its partners’ panel: a testament to the event’s rise towards international prominence, while keeping deep roots in its territory

Debora Piana and Kristina Ilina challenge Naima Diesner for Appenninica throne

The German, winner of the last two editions, will be the athlete to beat at the 2023 Appenninica MTB Stage Race (Sept. 4-9), but the Italian rider and the Russian national champion will be upfront to try to spoil her plans