In the final stage, Felix Fritzsch gained more terrain over Bart Classens, on his way to the overall victory. Elia Taverna won the final stage and earned the third step of the podium. Diesner finalized a dominating display to be crowned queen of Appenninica 2021
The test of the Bismantova Rock gave Felix Fritzsch the Men’s crown of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2021. Winner of the opening stage in Porretta Terme, the German completed the stage race on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines in first position, showing consistency and tactical acumen to beat Bart Classens in the GC by 8:09, responding to the Dutchman’s comeback after the High Mountain Queen Stage.
Fritzsch was not among the top favorites before the race, yet on Saturday, September 18th, 2021, on the finish line in Piazza Peretti in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, the German enriched his palmares, adding the Appenninica overall to the 2018 Rally di Romagna. The 32-year-old of the RSG 52 Stolberg team completed the seven stages in 20:49:55, ahead of Dutch Bart Classens (second) and Elia Taverna, third at 37:22.
“I’m really happy for the final victory. The race was very hard and I’m tired but we rode in wonderful landscapes and the Apennines are stunning. I’m proud to have completed the race, that was my goal at the start, but it was a fantastic experience. Now that I won the leader jersey, I have to come back next year and defend it”, said Felix Fritzsch on the finish line.
After riding all week in the front positions, Elia Taverna finally achieved a stage victory on the final day, 50 km and 1600 metres of elevation gain. The Italian rider managed to win the final stage in 2:27:55, setting the pace with Fritzsch and Classens in the first part of race, until a flat tire forced the Dutchman out of the game. At the finish, Fritzsch gave Elia Taverna the green light to the stage win.
“Finally, I have got a stage victory. I’m happy of how I have been racing this week and I’m fully satisfied about my participation. I didn’t think I’d be such at the sharp end, and to win a stage, so it’s all very positive”, said Elia Taverna.
NAIMA DIESNER’S CONQUERS APPENNINICA
An absolute protagonist of this edition, Naima Diesner’s attitude conquered the entire caravan of Appenninica. The German got another win at the shade of the Bismantova Rock in 2:51:57, ahead of Virginia Cancellieri by 7:21 and Evelyn Sulzer by 8:13. After the expected battles in the first stages, Diesner dominated the race starting from the High Mountain Queen Stage and winning four out of seven stages. In the overall standings, the Tuspo Weemde team rider finished Appenninica in 26:24:58, with an advantage of 59:37 on Virginia Cancellieri and 1:26:09 on Evelyn Sulzer.
“It was a fantastic experience. At Appenninica MTB Stage Race I found a wonderful atmosphere, the people welcomed me in an extraordinary way. This victory is also for those who couldn’t race it till the end due to some crashes or mechanical problems. I really enjoyed the race and I’d love to be back next year”, explained Naima Diesner.
APPENNINICA EYES FURTHER GROWTH IN 2022
At the end of the 2021 edition, the Appenninica MTB Stage Race organizers drew a positive wrap-up of the experience, looking forward to 2022 with new drive and confidence. The 106 athletes coming from 16 different Countries expressed positive comments towards the Emilia-Romagna Apennines stage race, where they fell in love with the atmosphere through the whole week.
“The feedback from the riders confirms that Appenninica belongs among the main mountain bike stage races in Europe. Many athletes felt at home while discovering unexpected landscapes among the Emilia-Romagna Apennines. The competition was tough, showing that the route gave nothing for granted and needed to be prepared in the best possible way. We lived an intense week full of emotions, thanks to the beautiful landscapes and the passion of the athletes. We are already looking forward to 2022 with the aim of growing further”, said the Appenninica organizers, Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi.
The final awarding ceremony in Piazza Peretti was attended by the Antonella Incerti, member of the Italian Parliament’s Agriculture Commission and representative of the Emilia-Romagna Region, the Public Works Councillor of Castelnovo ne’ Monti Giorgio Severi, and on behalf of the Coop Alleanza 3.0 Directors Board, Chiara Saccani. “I want to express a big thank you to the OC and to all athletes – said Antonella Incerti -. We are investing on the Apennines and on these areas that have a great potential. Appenninica is an important chance to showcase the territory in all his features, from landscapes to hospitality and cuisine”.