From London 2012 to Appenninica 2022: Maaike Polspoel ready for the challenge

The former Belgian road cyclist, now a nutritionist for Van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma, is ready to take on the Appenninica MTB Stage Race (4-10 September) ten years after her Olympic adventure in London. “I’m looking for a challenge to push my limits”

The reigning queen, Naima Diesner, has cited her as a rival to keep an eye on, but Maaike Polspoel swears that she does not think about the Appenninica MTB Stage Race final victory. Whether the Belgian is bluffing or not, will be discovered as of 4 September 2022, when the Emilia-Romagna Apennines will be the judges from the start in Castelnovo ne’ Monti.

Born in 1989, ten years ago the Belgian finished 29th in the Elite Women’s Road race at the 2012 London Olympics. Today she is preparing to experience Appenninica (4-10 September 2022) after returning to her first love, mountain biking.

Mountain biking was my first real love when it comes to cycling. As a little kid, I loved spending time in nature with my mountain bike. Before becoming a professional road cyclist, I was active as a biker in the international junior and U23 categories. I switched to road cycling after an injury during a World Cup cross-country race. However, the love for the mountain bike hasnever left me and after my career as a road cyclist, I picked up mountain biking again,” said Maaike Polspoel.

That’s why the decision to come to Emilia-Romagna for a mountain bike stage race thrilled her.

The Appenninica MTB Stage Race is unique. It will be very challenging and pushing limits will be needed. And that’s exactly what I’m looking for… Challenging and pushing my limits. And all this in an incredibly beautiful environment and wonderful nature. These are all the ingredients for an unforgettable experience” .

After finishing her career as a professional road racer, with stage win at the Profile Ladies Tour in 2011 and the Erondegemse Pijl in 2013 standing out as her best results, Maaike Polspoel has remained in the cycling world. Once finished her studies as a nutritionist, she has recently joined the Jumbo-Visma team of the last Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard and the fellow Belgian talent Wout Van Aert.

A well-balanced fueling and nutrition strategy is crucial to successfully finish a demanding stage race like Appenninica. The repetition of efforts, every stage demands a lot from your body, so you have to give it the energy to recover and to be fuelled for the next day. Carbohydrates play an important role in this, so Italian pasta will be welcome after each stage!”, the Belgian rider explained.

In spite of defending champion Naima Diesner picking her as one of the possible favourites for the overall victory, Maaike Polspoel prefers to shy away from the race for the overall win, but not without mentioning a name to watch out for.

“I don’t think I will be able to win this edition. It is the first time I will participate in the Appenninica, and it’s been a while since I have done some competition, so I will take it one day at a time and enjoy each stage. With her experience from last year, I think Naima has the best chance of winning again. I also expect a lot from Rozanne Slik, I know her from when she was a professional cyclist and expect that she will be at the start in excellent condition. In any case, I am looking forward to it,” Maaike Polspoel said. 

Whether it is just pretactics or not, the women’s race at Appenninica certainly promises to be exciting.

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