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.

The Appenninici – Lillo Lenzi, in love with the Apennines

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race are many stories of sports and life. Lillo Lenzi, who took part in the 2023 edition at the age of 70, fulfilled his ambition to complete the adventure on the trails of Emilia-Romagna’s Apennines, which have been his home for many years

The Appenninici – From rugby to mountain biking: the unique journey of Sophie Halhead

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

The organizers have unveiled the route for the MTB stage race, scheduled from September 2 to 7. Confirmed stage venues include Lizzano in Belvedere, Fiumalbo, and Castelnovo ne’ Monti for the grand finale, with Loiano making its debut this year. Participants will face a total of 400 km and 14,000 meters of elevation gain

The Appenninici – An Olympic champion discovers Appenninica

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race are many stories of sport and life. Miguel Martinez, Mountain Biking gold medallist at Sydney 2000, participated in the 2023 edition and was impressed by the routes and landscapes of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines and the familiar atmosphere of the race

From Tour the France to the MTB: Appenninica 2024 to kick off in Bologna

The main town of Emilia-Romagna is poised to inaugurate the sixth edition of Appenninica MTB Stage Race on September 2, 2024. Bathed in the afterglow of the Tour de France’s visit in July, the MTB challenge is set to bring more cycling emotions to the city

Appenninica MTB Stage Race Adventure Returns from September 2 to 7, 2024

The renowned MTB stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines confirms its six-day format, announcing its schedule for the 2024 season. Early Bird registration commences on December 1

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