Miguel Martinez leads the charge of “The Appenninici”

The motivations behind individuals’ decisions to take on a challenge like the Appenninica MTB Stage Race are diverse and plentiful. Some engage for personal growth, some for enjoyment, and others to bear witness. Among them are “The Appenninici,” athletes who aren’t necessarily driven by achieving top results but for whom success means conquering the finish line day after day.

From September 4 to 9, 2023, out of the 150 participants at the starting line, many will embrace the spirit of this challenge as they navigate the trails of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines. Leading this group of athletes will be a true mountain biking legend: Miguel Martinez. The Frenchman, a former gold medalist in Cross Country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, has also clinched victory at the Cape Epic within the Master category, paired with Mirko Pirazzoli.

At 47 years old, Martinez is an authentic mountain biking legend and a pioneer of racing across various cycling disciplines, including road and cyclocross. During the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, he will encounter another mountain biking great, Mark Anolik, who aims to complete the race for the third time, officially joining the “Hall of Family” of Appenninica – an exclusive group of individuals who have finished the stage race at least three times.

Tobias Guggemos and Patrik Nespor also aspire to join the ranks of the three-time finishers’ club. Among those who have already achieved this milestone are Peter Wouters, Anton Tieleman, Stefan Kiene, and Zbig Mossoczy, all of whom will be present at the start line.

Also marking their return to the Appenninica MTB Stage Race is Mirko Pirazzoli, who will lead his Piraz Coaching Academy Team, featuring Federico Mandelli – the best-placed Italian rider in the 2022 edition – and Federico Arcidiacono. Representing Italy is also Gabriele Verzella, who, at the age of 67, continues to relish mountain biking challenges. Joining him is Riccardo Giulio Acuto, recently crowned champion of the Swiss Epic in the Great Grand Master category and a previous victor at Appenninica within his age group. In this category, some participants have chosen the Appenninica MTB Stage Race as a way to celebrate their 70th birthday, such as Lorenzo Lelli.

Among the athletes at the starting line are those who prefer to tackle the challenges of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines in pairs, such as Tim and Louise Ferreira, who are making a return after last year’s experience. Another eagerly awaited comeback is from the American duo of Gordon Wadsworth and Emily Hairfield. Meanwhile, Ori Leonzini will journey from Israel alongside his father, Sharon.

The starters’ group includes those who are drawn to Appenninica due to their fascination with Italy, its history, and its beauty. Canadian participant Trent Basarsky is a prime example; he plans to explore the enchanting country before and after the race. On a different note, Argentine rider Lino Arboit is making his way to Italy to reunite with his family during the Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

Among the returning friends of the race is Mark Leeper, who is excited to revisit Castelnovo ne’ Monti after spending a few additional weeks there in 2021 before heading back to Hong Kong.

Lionel Poletti will also make a return to Lizzano in Belvedere, where he discovered the roots of  the triumphs of his childhood’s idol, Alberto Tomba. Similarly, Sophie Halhead, a distinguished member of the England women’s national rugby team with 71 caps, will once again grace the starting line. Another noteworthy returnee is the 2019 champion, Lukas Kaufmann, who not only savored the beauty of the Apennines that year but also developed a fondness for Parmigiano Reggiano di Montagna. Since then, every time he comes back to Appenninica, he ensures to carry back home at least one wheel of this cherished cheese.

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