104 Km and 3600 mt. D+: Appenninica’s Queen Stage is the ultimate test of truth

In the fourth edition of Appenninica (4-10 September 2022), the 104 Km and 3600 metres of elevation gain of the High Mountain Queen Stage’ from Castelnovo ne’ Monti to Fanano might be the turning point of the race on day 3, Tuesday, September 6th

With its 440 km and 16,000 metres of elevation gain spread over seven days (September 4th-10th, 2022), up and down the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, Appenninica MTB Stage Race poses plenty of challenges on the way of its participants. However, those who have already taken part in the spectacular Italian MTB stage race and those who dream of doing it soon know that there is always a day to be circled in red: the High Mountain Queen Stage.

The stage race scheduled in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines will reverse course this year, starting from Castelnovo ne’ Monti and ending in Lizzano in Belvedere, but the format will remain unchanged, with its unique mix of tough and exciting challenges, trails in the wilderness, and incomparable scenery. This year, the most challenging test will come on the third day, Tuesday, September 6th, 2022, when the Queen Stage of the 2022 edition is scheduled, starting from Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) and arriving in Fanano (Modena).

Compared to the past, the athletes will be fresher to tackle the 104 km and 3600 metres of elevation gain, but there will certainly be no shortage of thrills, starting with the spectacular views of a route almost entirely above 1,500 metres in altitude. A large part of the route follows the Alta via dei Parchi along ancient military mule tracks and trade routes such as the ancient via Vandelli, which connected Modena to Massa Carrara from the 18th century onwards.

At the start, there will be time for a final salute to the Bismantova Rock before crossing the Secchia river and beginning the first long ascent of the day (20 km and 1000 metres of elevation gain). A forest road will lead to the Cisa Pass and the “Alta Tensione” trail, eventually reaching the Monte Cusna area.

From Febbio, a new climb on forest roads will take the bikers to the summit of the Monte Giovarello (1760 m a.s.l.), from where, with favourable weather conditions, the entire Po Valley and beyond to the Tuscan coast can be seen. After reaching the Passo Radici, the route will go down in altitude, alternating forest roads and short single tracks up to the village of Pievepelago. Here the athletes will be able to catch their breath on the 10 km of asphalt road that will lead to Fiumalbo, where the climbing will start again.

A 10 km forest road and 1000 metres of altitude difference will take the athletes to Pian Cavallaro (1850 m a.s.l.) at the foot of Monte Cimone. There will only be 15 km left to the finish in Fanano, to be raced on pleasant forestry descents and short single-track sections. The first competitors will reach Piazza Corsini after 5 hours and 30 minutes: on such a day there’s nowhere to hide, and the general classification could be significantly reshaped.

“It is a Queen Stage in pure Appenninica style. The bikers will face ‘wild’ trails and unspoilt landscapes, on a selective – but also flowy – route that will cross some of the best-known areas of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, such as Monte Cusna and Monte Cimone”, explained Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi, the co-organizers of Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

Bike and tech: 5 insider tips for taking up Appenninica

Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2022 partner for mechanical assistance, Sport Bike Alicante points out five aspects not to be overlooked before tackling the demanding MTB stage race on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines.

 

Even if you have never taken part in an MTB stage race, and maybe you are preparing for your first time at Appenninica MTB Stage Race, you know already that preparation for such an event starts from afar. And no, we’re not just talking about physical conditioning.

If you think a challenge like the Appenninica is stressful for your body (and you might be right), have you ever wondered how stressful it can be for your bike? Spoiler: indeed, no less…

From 4 to 10 September 2022, on the trails of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, the mechanical assistance will be provided by Sport Bike Alicante, a new partner of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Whatever the bike’s annoyance or technical problem, the mechanics’ team will be ready to tackle and solve it.

Before reaching Castelnovo ne’ Monti for the start, it is a good idea to go through these five technical and mechanical tips to be ready to tackle the week-long Appenninica MTB Stage Race:

  1. Brake pads must be 100% new. Change them before setting off and ensure the brake fluid level and pressure are correct.
  2.  Tyres must be new. Choose the best size according to your preference and driving style, but make sure that they are brand new and not already worn at the start.
  3. Keep in mind that you are riding on the Apennines, and the elevation profile of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race is very demanding. Obvious? Maybe so, but it’s good to recall this when making your technical choices….
  4. Always keep an essential tool kit at hand. Inside it: chain stripper, multi-tool, spare inner tube, spare dropout or derailleur, Co2 pump with adapter, thermal blanket, lube oil or wax, cable ties and small pliers. A week up and down the Apennines is long and full of unforeseen events: you better be prepared.
  5. If your bike is equipped with an electric derailleur, take along an auxiliary battery for the derailleur and a battery for the control unit. Weather variations are always possible; changes in cold and heat can drain batteries faster and create trouble.

The Appenninici: Mark, Pippo and a lifetime in mountain bike

“Number 138, Mark Anolik, crosses the finish line in Fanano”. After hearing this sentence from the Appenninica MTB Stage Race speaker, Pierpaolo “Pippo” Marani’s eyes sparkled. Based in Fanano (Modena), the famous trail builder remembers that name well from the 1991 Mountain Bike World Championships in Il Ciocco, when Marani finished 35th in the Downhill Elite event, while his friend and rival from the USA finished just behind him, in 36th place.

The fate wanted that the two would meet again in a village in the Modena Apennines, exactly 30 years later, in 2021. In this case, destiny has a name: Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

I knew that Pippo was involved with Appenninica and that we could have an opportunity to meet again after many years. I am pleased it happened, also because it helped me to get back in touch with Giovanna Bonazzi, whom I have known for many years and worked with when she raced for the team I managed in 1997, Sintesi – Verlicchi”, said Mark Anolik.

The meeting between Mark Anolik and Pippo Marani was an opportunity to relive the atmosphere of those pioneering mountain biking days in the early 90s, of which both were protagonists. The adventurous spirit of the 90s is very similar to Appenninica’s spirit itself, the one that charmed so many participants on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines.

“The format of the race and the route caught my eye, because I lived in Prato when I competed for Diamond Back/Moustique, and I knew the Apennines. I recommend Appenninica to anyone who loves real, hard core mountain biking. There are all the ingredients, from one of the most beautiful areas to great food, friendly people and excellent organisation. A perfect mix that makes Appenninica one of the best events I have participated in almost 40 years of mountain biking”, Mark Anolik told.

And after a 40-year career, Mark Anolik still feels like riding. The American will also be at the start of the 2022 edition (4-10 September), because his strive for competition and desire to improve has remained the same.

“The experience of many years of racing helps you face the tough days, but I like the challenge of competing and I feel it makes me a better athlete” – ended Mark Anolik.

Why and how did we come up with Appenninica?

We’ve told the story many times but it’s time to explain the genesis of Appenninica MTB Stage Race here.

Over the past 15 years we’ve raced in 4 continents and year after year, race after race we fell in love with mountain bike stage racing. Not the competition in itself, but the experience and the challenge. The feeling of achieving the “Finisher” title changes the way you cope with problems and setbacks in life and if you have been there, you know what we mean. 

Taking part in those races from South Africa, to Canada, to Mongolia, and Europe of course, were perfect excuses to travel with our friends and families and pushed us to stay fit. 

Briefing inaugural edition Appenninica

A briefing for one of the stages of the inaugural edition of Appenninica MTB

Then something clicked: “Our Apennines could be – we thought – a very good place for such a race and not very many riders know its trails”. There are several races on the Alps and on the Pyrenees but the Apennines – an important mountain range of its own – did not host any true MTB stage race. We knew the incredible network of trails was there and that the “Italian divide” offered some unique ridgeline trails like we’ve not found anywhere in the World. 

We put our skills to work (we know events but that was a different animal), we rallied the team – Happy Trail MTB, our cycling club, provided the core team but we’ve gotten lots of great external help – and we started pitching the idea here and there. I can say that we were motivated and optimistic but we had to overcome, and we still do, challenges after challenges coming at us from every angle: weather, permits, money to name a few. We are still writing the story of Appenninica but let me just say that there’s been an equal mix of encouragement and skepticism. 

We’ll leave it at this: all of the work, the sleepless nights, and worries are worth it. 

If you want, it’s a classic story of having a dream and making it come true with drive and lots of patience. 

In a nutshell, Appenninica was started to share this part of Italy with the – great – mountain bike stage racing community and maybe to prove that the Apennines of Emilia Romagna could have hosted a top-level stage race. 

What’s in the name? Appenninica is an adjective loosely meaning coming from or made in the Apennines, or “made in Appennino” if you wish. 

Appenninica announces 2021 dates: September 12th to 18th

After the excellent outcome of this year, the event will remain in September. Registrations will open on November 15th

Photo by Marius Holler / The Outdoor Lab

Less than a month removed from a beautiful 2020 edition, the organizers of Appenninica MTB Stage Race are already working for 2021, and there is already the first significant news.

After pushing the 2020 edition from Summer to Fall because of the epidemiological emergency, the excellent feedback received from athletes and insiders convinced the organizers to confirm September as the month of the challenging stage race in the Emilian Apennines.

Appenninica’s third edition will take place from Sunday 12th to Saturday, September 18th, 2021, over seven days of competition. The September fixture should ensure the ideal climate for the competition, away from the peaks of summer heat and the early autumn cold.

Mid-September is also perfect for seizing the views of the Apennines and enjoying the real MTB on its unique ridges: “After this year’s success, despite all the hurdles, – explains Beppe Salerno, co-organizer of the race together with Milena Bettocchi, – we decided to confirm our calendar slot in September, two weeks earlier than this year. We expect to find slightly warmer temperatures and an even more eager welcoming since our venues’ summer season will still be open. Also, the international calendar offers us an interesting opportunity, as we aim to bring a group of top riders on the Apennines next year too”.

HOW TO REGISTER

As in 2020, the organizing committee chose to allow only individual participation without the pairs format, following an increasing trend worldwide.

It will be possible to register for 2021 Appenninica from November 15th, when the “Early Bird” phase will open: until January 31st, a maximum of 55 athletes can register for a reduced price.

With Appenninica’s trails riding through regional and national parks, in order not to overcrowd the course and ensure the utter level of enjoyment, the organizers opted to set a maximum number of 150 registered athletes.

The Bismantova Rock enhances Tiago Ferreira

The Portuguese rider of the DMT Racing Team made the difference in the final descent, taking his second Appenninica stage victory in Castelnovo ne’ Monti. Lorenzo Samparisi was runner-up, followed by GC leader Hans Becking. Esther Süss makes five out of five among women

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. Ferreira heading towards the Bismantova Rock

DMT Racing Team continues to rule at Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race. On Thursday, October 1st, in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, with the stunning Bismantova Rock in the background, the athletes of team manager Andrea Marconi won the fourth stage in five days at the Italian stage race. This time, however, they didn’t finish together. Tiago Ferreira managed to make the difference in the final descent that brought the riders to the base of the Rock, distancing everyone, even his teammate and GC leader Hans Becking. Second place for Lorenzo Samparisi (KTM Alchemist Dama) at 2’57”, narrowly guarded by the Dutchman, third at 3’06”.

After the Queen Stage efforts, the riders opted for a steadier approach to the stage, 50-km-long with 1800 meters of elevation gain. That resulted in regular pace in the early part, on fast forest roads and some uphill trails towards Montemiscoso and the Lake Calamone. Just before approaching the stretch around the Bismantova Rock, Ferreira decided to force the pace and try an all-in for the stage victory. Samparisi’s attempts to keep up with him were fruitless, so the Portuguese came in Piazza Peretti in Castelnovo ne’ Monti with his arms raised, celebrating his second victory in this Appenninica’s edition.

“The first part of the stage was very calm since we had no reason to push hard – Ferreira explained. – In the second, however, there were many fast up and down, so I tried to go for the stage. And I made it!”. On the other hand, Becking didn’t take any risk: “When Tiago attacked, I let Samparisi try to chase him. I didn’t want to push too hard. Even today, we were surrounded by beautiful landscapes, but after five days of competition on the Emilian Apennines, I understand this must be usual around here”.

Italian Samparisi, once again the most tenacious opponent of the DMT Racing Team’s riders, had to settle for the place of honor: “Unfortunately I could not follow Tiago, but I will try again in the next two stages that seem to suit my characteristics. After Fanano’s victory, I would like to repeat”.

In the overall standings, Ferreira shortened the distance to his teammate Becking and is now 4’38” behind, while Samparisi is getting closer to the final third place, having gained more time on Milton Ramos (Rockrider Decathlon).

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. Ferreira celebrating in Castelnovo ne’ Monti

ESTHER SÜSS HIGH-FIVE!

Esther Süss got the fifth victory in as many stages among women, not leaving even a shred of hope to her opponents. At this point, the en-plein of successes in this Appenninica’s edition is no longer utopia for the former World Champion. At 17’29” from the winner, Gaia Ravaioli (KTM Alchemist Data) was on the second step of the podium for the fifth time as well.

“It was a fun stage, with many ‘up and downs’, and beautiful landscapes – the Swiss explained -. I like to go uphill rather than downhill, but I needed a day like today, after yesterday’s efforts. Winning all the stages? I already did it at the Transalp, the 4 Islands, and the Andalucia Bike Race, so why not?”.

ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2ND, FROM CASTELNOVO TO COLLECCHIO (94 KM)

On Friday, October 2nd, long distances will be back in Appenninica. Collecchio and the Giarola Court will host the sixth stage’s finish, 94 km from the start in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) after the athletes have left the Apennine massif for the first time. 

The protagonist of the central part of the stage will be the town of Calestano, famous for its technical and fun trails. The Taro river valley will bring the riders to the final part of the stage, all the way to the Giarola Court, Appenninica’s headquarter for the last two days.

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. The leading group during the first part of the race

The Queen Stage has its king: Hans Becking

The Dutch rider of the DMT Racing Team, along with his teammate Tiago Ferreira, made the difference in the 110-km-long Queen Stage of Appenninica with over 4000 meters of elevation gain, further reinforcing his GC lead. Esther Süss continues her clear path among women

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. Becking and Ferreira leading the race

The Queen Stage was the litmus test for Hans Becking, and he passed it in swing. On Wednesday, September 30th, the fourth stage of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race brought the riders from Fanano (Modena) to Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia). The boys of DMT Racing Team once again confirmed their class, taking the lead of the race early into the 110-km-long stage with 4200 meters of total elevation gain, and arriving together on the finish line of the “Don Bosco” oratory, in the town in the province of Reggio Emilia.

With a fantastic open-air view of the Emilian Apennines, Becking and Ferreira attacked from the start, on the Passo del Saltello, increasing their gap on the Passo San Pellegrino, Passo delle Radici and Passo del Giovarello. Always together, the duo kept the lead for all the 5h48′ race and was the first to get the look of the Bismantova Rock after the last important climb of the day, Passo della Cisa.

With today’s victory, the Dutch added another stage win to the inaugural time trial in Porretta Terme, and he further tightened his grab on general classification, while his teammate Ferreira, XCM European Champion, was runner-up. Third-placed on the day, at 9’16”, was French Joseph De Poortere (Rockrider-Decathlon), who beat Lorenzo Samparisi (KTM Alchemist Dama) in a sprint.

“Almost six hours of racing, it was tough! But it was worth it – Becking explained -. The first climb on asphalt was fantastic, the view on the Apennines was more and more charming as we proceeded. Tiago and I set our pace from the start, and being together was a smart choice, since dealing with six hours alone wouldn’t have been so fun. It was by far the longest stage of my season, and certainly one of the hardest”.

In the overall standings, Becking holds 7’44” on teammate Ferreira, and with today’s performance, Samparisi managed to solidify the third provisional place at 24’58”, as Milton Ramos (Rockrider-Decathlon) closed more than 18 minutes behind the winner.

“Am I closer to the final victory? Probably, but I have participated in many stage races and I know that you can not be sure until it’s over – Becking continued -. The legs are still great, and no matter where I will finish, I will return home from Appenninica with very fond memories”.

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. Esther Süss before the finish line

WHO CAN STOP ESTHER SÜSS?

Days go by, but Esther Süss doesn’t seem to be giving up an inch. In addition to winning the women’s Queen Stage, the former World Champion closed 20th overall in the stage, beating many men colleagues. At 28’22”, Gaia Ravaioli (KTM Alchemist Dama) finished second.

“Mentally it was tough today – Süss explained, exhausted, after the finish line -. I was alone for most of the time, and while the landscapes were beautiful, I actually suffered a lot. I always try to give my best and discover my limits, when I’m on saddle I like to give it all”.

THE BISMANTOVA ROCK ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1ST, WITH STAGE 5 CASTELNOVO-CASTELNOVO (50 KM)

On Thursday, October 1st, it will be Castelnovo ne’ Monti‘s day, with stage 5 starting and finishing in Piazza Peretti, in the old town. The first part of the route follows – in the opposite direction – a stretch of the first edition: after the first kilometers on paved road, a sequence of fast forest roads and uphill trails rise towards the Montemiscoso mountain village. A 5-km paved climb leads to the beautiful setting of the glacial-origin Lake Calamone, and from there, a long and pleasant downhill trail leads back to Cervarezza and another uphill forest road.

Back to the top of the mountain, there is a short and fun downhill that anticipates some “ups and downs” on fast roads until reaching the base of the majestic Bismantova Rock, an authentic symbol of Appenninica, and framing the last part of the course until the finish in Piazza Peretti.

 

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. The Bismantova Rock

Lorenzo Samparisi makes Italian fans cheer in Fanano

The KTM Alchemist Dama rider won stage 3 (Fanano-Fanano), seeing off leader Hans Becking in a sprint. Süss is unbeatable among women. Tomorrow the Queen Stage (110 km!)

On the third day of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race Italy has celebrated its first success. On Tuesday, September 29th, in the third stage, starting and finishing in Fanano (Modena), over 50 km and 2500 meters of elevation gain, charted with the unmistakable trait of famous trail builder Pippo Marani.

Lorenzo Samparisi (KTM Alchemist Dama) saw his determination rewarded with a victory on the Modena Apennines, conducting an aggressive race since the first ascent towards Passo Colombino. In his wake on the way up, the iron duo of DTM Racing Team formed by Hans Becking and Tiago Ferreira, whose strenght and consistency was on display once again.

Samparisi, Becking and Ferreira proceeded together on the ridges between Croce Arcana, Lago Scaffaiolo and Passo del Lupo, whose beauty has been enhanced by a sky never so clear in this edition of Appenninica.

The fun and electrifying final descent made the difference on the natural singletrack to Fanano, in which the hand of Pippo Marani – the creator of Val di Sole’s “Black Snake” – could certainly be seen. Samparisi attacked again with courage, followed by Becking, while Ferreira chose not to take risks ahead of the Queen Stage on Wednesday. Samparisi had time to raise his arms in the final sprint, while Becking consolidated his blue leader’s jersey.

“I attacked from the start, we were three on the climb, but I knew the final technical descent could have changed everything”, says Samparisi. “I didn’t hold back, I took some risks, and that eventually paid off. Tomorrow, however, it will be a different story: you have to manage the effort, and then unleash everything in the final hour.”

Even with the competition in full, however, the three protagonists of the day agreed on one thing: “When we arrived on the ridge, Becking, Ferreira and I looked at each other and said – such a shame we don’t have a phone to take a pic! – We didn’t expect something like this before the start”.

Third place for Milton Ramos, looking more consistent and smiling day after day, at 6’09”, while Ferreira reached the finish line at 6’44”.

In the overall standings, before the Queen Stage, Becking has 7’44” on Tiago Ferreira, 15’41” on Lorenzo Samparisi and 19’24” on Milton Ramos. “Today we didn’t want to risk too much,” says Becking, “Samparisi pushed hard, especially on the downhill, while Tiago preferred to use some extra caution ahead of tomorrow. The Queen Stage will be decisive, anything can happen, and victory is not granted. The one thing that’s for sure is the beauty of the sceneries we get to see every day.”

ESTHER SÜSS IS UNTOUCHABLE

Esther Süss (RC Gränichen) continues to command the women’s race. The former World Champion took the third success in a row: an unbreakable supremacy. The second position was once again of Gaia Ravaioli (KTM Alchemist Dama), 23’22” behind.

“I’m focused on my own race: the only thing that can distract me are the scenarios that open up around us as we ride on a great course. Today the descent was so much fun; I enjoyed it all in view of the difficult stage of tomorrow, where it will be important to be on the top of my game.”

ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH, THE FEARED QUEEN STAGE: FANANO – CASTELNOVO NE’ MONTI (110 km)

It is the stage circled in red on the calendar of all athletes. Two numbers are enough to tell why: 110 km and 4,200 meters of elevation gain. Tomorrow it’s Queen Stage time. It is the stage that leads from the harshest to the hilliest part of the Apennines in a succession of singletrails, from the province of Modena to Reggio Emilia.

After the descent from Cimone, a series of up and down will begin: Passo del Saltello, Passo di San Pellegrino, Passo delle Radici, Passo del Giovarello, all on various terrain, from forest roads to trails with roots of undergrowth.

The Passo della Cisa is the last significant climb of the day, leading the athletes in the medieval town of Sologno and opening the first view of the Bismantova Rock. From the village, the last descent and the crossing of the river Secchia will finally mark the desired arrival in Castelnovo ne’ Monti.

Ferreira and Süss keep shining in Appenninica

Another double for the DMT Racing Team duo in stage 2, 65 km from Porretta Terme to Fanano. The Portuguese won the stage; the Dutchman held the race lead: “The Apennine is stunning!” Esther Süss keeps dominating among women

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. Tiago Ferreira in action on the Apennines’ ridges

Only two days have passed from the start of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race‘s second edition, and “stunning” is the word you keep hearing in the village of the MTB stage race on the Italian Apennines. They clearly were not talking about the race outcome, at least so far: favorites Tiago Ferreira and Hans Becking, among men, and Esther Süss, among women, are obviously living up to the expectations.

On Monday, September 28th, the second stage took the field from Porretta Terme (Bologna) to Fanano (Modena) over 65 km and over 3.000 meters of elevation gain. It was different than the opening effort, and arguably more challenging: there’s little wondering why the stage was named “the technical.” Nevertheless, the outcome eloquently remarked what the first stage had already suggested.

Once again, Tiago Ferreira and Hans Becking of DMT Racing Team have celebrated together on the finish line, strengthening their role as favorites for Appenninica’s second edition. This time it was the Portuguese, reigning European and former World MTB Marathon Champion, to precede his teammate, who smiles in the blue of his Natali-branded leader’s jersey that he claimed yesterday and defended today.

“We accelerated right at the beginning of the climb to the Sboccata dei Bagnadori, around the Rifugio della Segavecchia,” Ferreira said, “and Hans and I paced from there, managing our gap.” “It’s a long week, so we need to manage our effort,” echoed Becking, “and this also allowed us to enjoy the sight a little bit, and it was definitely deserving. We saw incredible places on the course, and the second half of it was so much fun. I have been in many places, including the Alps and the Dolomites, of course, but I am discovering that the Apennines are beautiful in their very own way.”

After warming up the engine in the opening effort, Honduran Milton Ramos (Rockrider-Decathlon) displayed the quality that made him a serial winner of the Iron Bike: he was third on the day, a mere 32 seconds behind the DMT duo. Anyway, his first comment after the finish wasn’t about the overall standings: “Can’t believe the things I saw today. After traveling the World, you assume you pretty much know what to expect. And you’re mistaken: the climbs, the descents, the Apennine ridge we faced today are something incredible. I feel lucky to be here because I didn’t expect Appenninica to be like this: the places, the courses, and the special care they have for each rider like I had never seen before. Amazing.”

The first Italian rider, Lorenzo Samparisi (Team KTM-Alchemist), came in fourth place at 7’04”. Samparisi now occupies the same position in the overall standings behind Becking, Ferreira e Ramos.

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. Esther Süss celebrating in Fanano finish line

ESTHER SÜSS’ CLASS ON DISPLAY AGAIN

The women’s race also confirmed what Esther Süss had started showing on Sunday. The Swiss rider claimed another neat success, with the challenging Apennines’ trails enhancing the huge value of the former XCM World Champion and three-time Cape Epic winner.

“Another great course today, and such hard climbs! We went through really tough sections, and I think we will find plenty of those over the week. But my legs are spinning good, and I am enjoying my time here. There’s still a lot to ride, and that’s good news”.

Gaia Ravaioli (KTM-Alchemist) came in second at 18’48”, keeping her runner-up spot in the GC behind Süss and ahead of Sarah Reiners.

STAGE 3 ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2020: FANANO-FANANO (50 km)

The stage 3 will be raced mostly on the natural trails in the area of Fanano and Sestola. The stage is named “Pippo Yeah” after Pier Paolo “Pippo” Marani, the famous trail builder of Val di Sole’s “Black Snake” downhill course, who contributed to charting 2020 Appenninica’s third effort.

After the start on the tarmac, the path to the Colombino Pass will bring the race through chestnut woods to the Capanno Tassoni. From there, the view will open on the singletracks on the ridge between the Passo Croce Arcana, Lago Scaffaiolo and Passo del Lupo. Some portage will be needed before unleashing the speed on the technical tracks that are sure to give the riders a real adrenaline rush, all the way to the finish in Fanano.

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. Milton Ramos finishes third today’s stage

Ph. The Outdoor Lab. The ridges of the Apennines

Becking and Süss strike fast in Appenninica opener

The DMT Racing Team Dutchman has earned the leader’s jersey after the opening time trial in Porretta, won ahead of teammate Ferreira. The Swiss former World Champion set the tone in the Women’s race

Photo by Alyona Blagikh – The Outdoor Lab

They were the most expected riders, and they did not disappoint. Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race’s 2nd edition has opened in the name of DMT Racing Team’s Hans Becking and Tiago Ferreira, who dropped the hammer in the opening stage, a 45 km individual time trial starting and finishing in Porretta Terme

Porretta warmly welcomed the start of the only MTB stage race in Italy, in an amazing weekend for cycling in the Province of Bologna: just an hour and a half away from Porretta, in Imola, the Elite Men’s Road World Championship took place. The sun warmed up the early starts from central Piazza della Libertà, being later shaded by clouds as forecast, but no rain characterized the riders’ opening effort.

The stage 1 menu offered a varied course, pointing mostly up until beyond the halfway mark, with the ascents to Castelluccio and Manservisi Castle Park, and then up to the 1.428 meters of the Monte Cavallo. A very technical descent called the rider’s technical skills to the fore, before another challenging way up to the Monte Piella, where some portage stints were required to reach the top and the panoramic view on the Reno Valley, and the final path down to Porretta.

Photo by Marius Holler – The Outdoor Lab

Having started with a minute distance from each other, Ferreira and Becking rejoined along the course and consistently increased their margin over the stage. The duo got to the finish together, which meant Becking would take the stage and the Men leader’s jersey, having started one minute after the Portuguese. “A lot can happen over a week in this kind of race – Becking told at the finish – but we have started on the right foot. We were a little surprised by how technical the course was today: we’ll be more than ready tomorrow, as there’s still a very long way to go.” 

Third at the finish was Italian Lorenzo Samparisi (+8’35”), ahead of Dutchman Rob Van der Werf (+11.49) and veteran Milton Ramos (+12.42). The defending champion, Austrian Lukas Kaufmann, was just 13th on the day.

Esther Süss rides into early lead

Photo by Marius Holler – The Outdoor Lab

Many expectations also surrounded the Women’s race, with several athletes in a position to compete for the big prize. The first round went to Esther Süss: intensely focused before the start, the experienced Swiss put distance between her and the rivals, finishing 6’36” ahead of Italian Gaia Ravaioli.

Starting first means racing with no benchmarks, but when you see nobody closing in, then you know it worked out pretty well,” told the former World Champion and three-time Cape Epic winner. “I was astonished by the views from the course today: if that’s an indication of what expects us over this week, I can’t wait to take in the following stages.

APPENNINICA MTB PARMIGIANO REGGIANO STAGE RACE STANDINGS

Tomorrow’s stage 2: Porretta Terme – Fanano

Tomorrow, Monday, September 28th, the riders will line up in Porretta Terme at 8.00 AM for their second effort at Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race: Porretta Terme – Fanano, 65 km from Bologna’s to Modena’s province, sporting a 3.300 mt elevation gain. The stage’s title, “The Technical”, is telling of what there’s in store for the athletes.

After the first 15 km on flat, the long ascent in the woods to the Sboccata dei Bagnadori is expected to make a selection, taking the riders to the Apennine’s ridge, opening an incredible view: the Emilia-Romagna on the right, with the Alps in the background, the Tuscany and the Apuane Alps on the left. 

Through another climb to the Corno alle Scale and the tough Passo dello Strofinatoio, the riders will reach one of the most charming points of the whole course: 1.900 mt-high Lago Scaffaiolo. One last climb to the Passo Croce Arcana will leave way to the technical and fun descent on the CAI 425 trail to Fanano.

 

The countdown is over: Appenninica gets underway in Porretta Terme  

From September 27th to October 3rd, from Porretta Terme to Collecchio, passing through Fanano and Castelnovo ne’ Monti, Appenninica’s second edition starts for 450 km, 16,000 meters of total elevation gain, and featuring big names of the international MTB scene

The wait was longer than initially expected, but now Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage 2020 is ready to go. Tomorrow, on Sunday, September 27th, the second edition of the unique Italian MTB stage race on the Emilian Apennines will start with an individual time trial from Porretta Terme (Bologna). Trails, climbs and descents will keep the bikers busy until Saturday, October 3rd, when Collecchio (Parma) and the Giarola Court will celebrate the final winners.

Having been forced to push the event from Summer to Fall due to the epidemiological emergency, the Organizing Committee led by Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno resiliently ran its initiative, and a prestigious starting list has amply rewarded it. That’s a promise of great fun over the 450 km and 16,000 meters of total elevation gain expecting the riders.

The XCM European Champion and former World Champion, Portuguese Tiago Ferreira, will be under the spotlight, making the race even more exciting along with his teammate, Dutch Hans Becking. His presence, however, will also motivate his opponents, starting with the defending champion, Austrian Lukas Kaufmann, who does not intend to give up easily despite a greater competition. As a specialist in this type of events, Spaniard-Honduran Milton Ramos will certainly try to add another race to his important palmares, while Lorenzo Samparisi is probably the top option for the Italian hopes.

Equally exciting is the challenge in the womens’ field, with a former World Champion, Swiss Esther Süss, leading a group of very competitive athletes. Lorenza Menapace, from Trentino, is back a year after winning the event in the pairs’ category (canceled this year due to health reasons), trying to repeat the feat in the individual race, while German Sarah Reiners and Italian Gaia Ravaioli will try once more to prove their talent. Finally, it will also be interesting to see at work former German Olympian Regina Marunde, who raced on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines at the 1991 World Championships in “Il Ciocco”.

In the field, there will be also many athletes and enthusiasts whose experience will be focused more on the charm of the adventure than the competition, a journey to discover their limits, to complete the race and enjoy the beauty of the Apennines and the typical Italian atmosphere.

THE COURSE

The route follows, wherever possible, the MTB trail of the Alta Via dei Parchi that leads all over to Tuscany, touching the provinces of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia and Parma. On Sunday, September 27th, the start and the finish of the stage will be in the thermal city of Porretta Terme (Bologna), with a 45-km-long individual time trial and the climb of Mount Piella as a key point, on top of which the beautiful scenery of the Reno valley will open for the riders.

More hurdles expect the athletes on Monday, September 28th, with stage 2 from Porretta Terme to Fanano (Modena) of 60 kilometers, featuring the ascent to the Passo dello Strofinatoio, with the charming coasting of the Scaffaiolo Lake, to continue with the Passo della Croce Arcana, the Passo del Colombino and the descent along the mythical CAI 425 trail.

The third stage on Tuesday, September 29th presents 50 kilometers with start and finish line in Fanano and was charted by renowned trail builder Pippo Marani: it will offer one of the best scenery of the week, with the majestic chestnut woods to frame the first part of the race, before facing highly-entertaining trails, with technical descents, ridges with view and toboggan.

The next day, on Wednesday, September 30th, it is time for the “Queen Stage”, from Fanano to Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) for a total of 110 kilometers and over 4,000 meters of elevation gain. Passo del Saltello, Passo di San Pellegrino, Passo delle Radici, Passo del Giovarello and Passo della Cisa will be the climbs on the menu, making for an epic day.

On Thursday, October 1st, Castelnovo ne’ Monti will host the start and the finish of the fifth stage (53 kilometers), taking place by the banks of the Calamone Lake in the first part, and in the nearbies of the Pietra of Bismantova massif in the second, for a rippling race full of ups and downs.

From Castelnovo ne’ Monti the riders will go to Collecchio (Parma) and the Giarola Court for the 94-km-long sixth stage on Friday, October 2nd, and leaving behind the Apennine chain and diving into the Po Valley, with rivers and valleys that will keep company to the riders during the whole stage.

A great racing week will end with the Collecchio-Collecchio stage, on Saturday, October 3rd, with 35 kilometers in the background of the Carrega Woods park, that is sure to be remembered for the ride through the courtyards of historical villas, home to Marie Louise (duchess of Parma and Napoleon’s wife).

Sunday, September 27th: Porretta Terme – Porretta Terme (45 km)
Elevation Gain: 1645 m

Monday, September 28th: Porretta Terme – Fanano (60 km)
Elevation Gain: 2650 m

Tuesday, September 29th: Fanano – Fanno (50 km)
Elevation Gain: 2300 m

Wednesday, September 30th: Fanano – Castelnovo ne’ Monti (110 km)
Elevation Gain: 4300 m

Thursday, October 1st: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Castelnovo ne’ Monti (53 km)
Elevation Gain: 1900 m

Friday, October 2nd: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Collecchio (94 km)
Elevation Gain: 2500 m

Saturday, October 3rd: Collecchio – Collecchio (35 km)
Elevation Gain: 650 m

Riding into the Emilian Parks’ wild with Appenninica

The MTB stage race on the Emilian Apennines (September 27th – October 3rd) will cross the Tuscan-Emilian National Park and the Regional Parks of Eastern, Central and Western Emilia: a full-immersion in the wild nature of the Apennines, including three bike parks for the bike enthusiasts

Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race is an event that feels more like a fascinating adventure than merely a race. An experience that you can’t wait to finish – 16,000 mt of elevation gain aside – just to start it over again, take a different direction, and discover the new scenery beyond a junction.

From Sunday, September 27th to Saturday, October 3rd, athletes from all over Europe at the start of the only Italian MTB stage race will follow the tracks charted in the heart of the Emilian Apennines by the technical team of Appenninica. Still, the beauty of the unexplored territory for the MTB world is sure to surprise them at every turn and glimpse.

Wherever possible, the Appenninica course follows the route of the Alta Via dei Parchi: a walking trail between Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Marche, crossing two National Parks, five Regional and one Interregional Park, through about 500 kilometers.

Following the tracks of the Alta Via, the athletes and all the fans of Appenninica can discover the incredible Emilia-Romagna natural heritage. The region boasts an Italian-record 14 Regional parks, as well as countless protected areas.

Starting from the East, the riders will first find the Regional Park Corno alle Scale, five thousand hectares of park dominated by the massif grazing the 2000 meters benchmark. Then will come the Alto Appennino Modenese and the 2165-meters-high Monte Cimone, the highest peak of the northern Apennines and, of course, of Appenninica.

Subsequently, in the province of Reggio Emilia, the Appenninica family will meet the Tuscan-Emilian National Park, in which stands the massive and fascinating Bismantova Rock, but also the Monte Cusna and Monte Ventasso.

When reaching the province of Parma, the athletes will be welcomed by the “Parchi del Ducato” and the Reserve Monte Prinzera, located along the Via Francigena path, an ancient route of medieval pilgrimage. The Taro River Park, whose headquarter is located within the Giarola Court, is a magnificent fortified rural complex, home to the last two stages; the Carrega Woods, whose lakes, meadows, hedges and cultivated fields have long fascinated the Parma nobility, will stage the entire final effort.

“We are proud to host this wonderful international competition in our Protected Natural Areas. This extraordinary landscape setting will certainly fill the eyes and the heart of the athletes with sensations and indelible memories, – explained President of the Managing Body for Parks and Biodiversity of Western Emilia, Agostino MaggialiSports in nature and outdoor activities are among the most important ways to discover and enjoy our Parks and Reserves, combining the collective need for environmental protection and sustainability with individual travel, recreation and wellness”.

Once the Appenninica race week is over, the landscapes and trails will remain available for all the MTB lovers. Indeed, three Bike Parks cover part of the race tracks, starting from the most famous, Monte Cimone, among the largest and most appreciated in Italy. Technical trails and equipped areas for enduro bikers can also be found in Febbio (Reggio Emilia) and Monte Fuso (Parma). There are plenty of ways to have fun and discover the less explored corners of the Apennines.

A closure in style for Appenninica in Collecchio and the Giarola Court

Focus on the stage venues – A fascinating finale expects Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race (September 27th – October 3rd) as the town in the province of Parma and the medieval Corte are set to host the last two stages

Our journey to discover the stage venues of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, scheduled from September 27th to October 3rd, ends with Collecchio. Situated in the province of Parma, the town debuts as hosting venue of the MTB stage race on the Emilian Apennines. In particular, the Giarola Court will be the headquarter of the last two stages and the grand finale after a tough week of competition.

On Friday, October 2nd Collecchio and the Giarola Court will host the sixth stage’s finish, 94 km from the start in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia), after the athletes have left the Apennine massif for the first time. The protagonist of the central part of the stage will be the town of Calestano, famous for its technical and fun trails, while the valley of the Taro river will bring the riders to the final part of the stage, all the way to the Giarola Court.

The final stage of Appenninica, on Saturday, October 3rd, is a short and fun ring course with Collecchio and the Giarola Court as both start and finish. The first ten kilometers are flat and fast on dirt road and then asphalt, skirting the Taro river before entering the Carrega Woods park. From there, the bikers will have plenty to enjoy over the following 20 km, characterized by fast and technical dirt trails with rapid changes of slopes and direction. The park’s beautiful forest will always be in the background, with passages inside the ancient villas courts where Marie Louise, the Duchess of Parma and wife of Napoleon, stayed. Leaving the park, the remaining kilometers will be a long sprint on asphalt and bike paths until the well-deserved finish line, which will close Appenninica’s second edition. At the final dinner, the bikers will finally be free to taste the local delights with no more regrets.

“We have embraced this challenge with enthusiasm, not only because Appenninica can help making our territory known in Italy and abroad, but also for the sporting value that an event like this conveys – the Mayor of Collecchio, Maristella Galli, explains -. The Collecchio Administration is strongly committed to supporting sports. We believe in sports as a key vehicle of growth for the new generation, even more in this critical time when courage becomes even more of a value, and sports are a perfect benchmark for that.”

COLLECCHIO: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The territory of Collecchio extends to 11 km south-west of Parma in a beautiful area located between hills and plains, where life is in a privileged relationship with the surrounding environment thanks to the presence of two historic regional parks, the Taro river, and the Carrega Woods. Artistic and natural treasures are the lovely setting of Collecchio, an urban center able to combine development with the attention to culture and territory.

Worth a visit are the Arch of the Bargello, which gives access to the town, the ancient parish church of San Prospero and Villa Soragna, a building of the early ‘800, now converted to a public library.

Then there is the Giarola Court, where the race village of the last two stages of Appenninica will be set up. From the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century, it was a Benedictine monastery of San Paolo’s nuns. Inside there is the Romanesque church of San Nicomede and, today, the Corte has been renovated for the public and houses the headquarter of the Taro Park, the Museum of tomato and pasta and a charming restaurant.

DISCOVER MORE ON COLLECCHIO

Appetite grows with climbing in Appenninica

More than trails and dirt roads in the MTB stage race on the Emilian Apennines (September 27th-October 3rd), but also tasty local specialties to make the riders’ experience even more special

Ph. E. Melchiorri

Limiting Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race only to the competitive aspect would be overly reductive. From September 27th to October 3rd, the riders will find much more than a MTB stage race: the Appenninica family will help them into the Emilian Apennines’ culture and traditions.

The culinary tradition of the area, and of Italy as a whole, is undoubtedly one big motivation for those choosing the Appenninica adventure. Emilia-Romagna is a region of excellence in terms of cuisine, and the Appenninica organizers want to show it during the race, supported by title sponsor Parmigiano Reggiano and fellow partners Venturini Baldini, I Love Piadina, Parmonie, water supplied by Gruppo SEM and Coop Alleanza 3.0.

At Appenninica, the athletes will have to face more than 450 km and 16 thousand meters of total elevation gain, requiring a great deal of energy to be reintegrated with genuine and traditional food from the areas involved. Each stage venue will present its own specialty to make every stage unique from a gastronomic perspective.

Porretta Terme (Bologna) will present its pappardelle with meat sauceFanano (Modena) the tigelle combined with cold cuts, cheese and stracchino, Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) will treat the riders with the famous “rice bomb” and Collecchio (PR) with the “torta fritta” and cold cuts. Everything will be accompanied by many other local delicacies.

The highlight will then be the grand finale dinner offered by title sponsor Parmigiano Reggiano, in which riders can plunge into the tasting of the excellences of local food and wine. The perfect finishing act of the challenging but gratifying MTB experience in the Emilian Apennines.

“The gastronomic discovery is one of the reasons why we think of Appenninica as an experience, more than just a race – co-organizer Milena Bettocchi explained – Emilia is an internationally-famous area of gastronomic excellence, and living Appenninica without diving in this reality would be like giving up to a huge piece of its cultural heritage.”

“An athlete can finish the Giro d’Italia in Milan without eating the famous cutlet, but he cannot finish Appenninica without discovering the taste of the erbazzone, the fragrance of the torta fritta and the scent of the real mountain Parmigiano Reggiano. It is part of what we are. And it is also for this reason that appetite grows with climbing at Appenninica”, Bettocchi added.

Less than a month to go for star-studded Appenninica

Registrations to the stage race on the Emilian Apennines (September 27th – October 3rd) are closed: an exiciting edition is in the cards with great riders at the start, such as Tiago Ferreira and Esther Süss

September is the month of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race this year: there are now only 26 days left to the start from Porretta Terme (Bologna) of the MTB stage race on the Emilian Apennines, scheduled from September 27th to October 3rd, and the ordinary registrations for the upcoming edition have closed on Monday August 31st.

The Organizing Committee headed by Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno resiliently ran their initiative in the tough months of the epidemic emergency, moving the race from the summer to the autumn season and working to ensure the event in full safety for both athletes and insiders.

This tenacity has been largely rewarded by a prestigious list of starters: many riders have been fascinated by the general offer of the course, a very demanding challenge with its 16 thousand meters of total elevation gain, and also by the beauty and scenery of the Apennines, an area still to be discovered, not only by bike.

There is going to be a tight battle both in the men’s and women’s competition: on the one hand current champion Lukas Kaufmann, European and former World Champion Tiago Ferreira, Milton Ramos, Hans Becking and Lorenzo Samparisi, while on the other hand the former World Champion Esther Süss, Gaia Ravaioli, Sarah Reiners, former Olympian Regina Marunde and Lorenza Menapace, just to mention some of the most anticipated protagonists.

“Despite a year with unique circumstances – Beppe Salerno explained – the participation numbers are very interesting, with some prominent names of the MTB world. Due to the COVID-19, several athletes arriving from outside Europe, particularly from the United States and South Africa, have had to give up the event, but will not miss the opportunity to be here in 2021″.

HE COURSE

Logistic reasons have forced a variation on the course of the last two stages, concerning in particular the stage venue. Collecchio (Parma) and the charming Corte di Giarola will replace Noceto (Parma) with no strictly technical changes in the course since the two municipalities are next to each other. “We thank Noceto for the availability and collaboration offered in recent months – Beppe Salerno commented – and we hope to return to visit it in the years to come. At the same time, we warmly welcome Collecchio, that will have the honor to crown the winner of a second edition that promises to be really enticing”.

Sunday, September 27th: Porretta Terme – Porretta Terme (45 km)
Elevation Gain: 1645 m

Monday, September 28th: Porretta Terme – Fanano (60 km)
Elevation Gain: 2650 m

Tuesday, September 29th: Fanano – Fanno (50 km)
Elevation Gain: 2300 m

Wednesday, September 30th: Fanano – Castelnovo ne’ Monti (110 km)
Elevation Gain: 4300 m

Thursday, October 1st: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Castelnovo ne’ Monti (53 km)
Elevation Gain: 1900 m

Friday, October 2nd: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Collecchio (94 km)
Elevation Gain: 2500 m

Saturday, October 3rd: Collecchio – Collecchio (35 km)
Elevation Gain: 650 m

Hibros joins Appenninica’s family

Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race welcomes Hibros in his big family as a new technical sponsor. The company from Bologna is specialized in massage creams and creams for the perineal area. It is perfect for taking care of the muscles after the efforts to which all athletes of Appenninica will be subjected.

Hibros products will be used by masseurs chosen by the organizing committee at the end of each stage, but will also be part of the prizes for the final winners, and thanks to the single doses included in the race package, all the Appenninica’s athletes will have the opportunity to test them.

Hibros Chemical Laboratory was founded in Bologna at the end of the 19th century by the Nadalini family, initially for the production of hair care products. In 1967 he obtained a licence for the production of bleaches and products for the treatment of face and body, while in 1999 was born the cosmetic line Hibros Sport, dedicated to athletes and in particular to the cycling industry.

Thanks to the collaboration with professional masseurs, the Hibros brand has become a reference point for the athletes of the most important cycling teams in the world, as well as official sponsor of the Italian Cycling Federation.

Safety first for Appenninica: new rules for enhanced prevention

The organizers of the Italian MTB stage race (September 27th- October 3rd) are developing anti-COVID prevention measures, according to the guidelines provided by the Italian Federation and the Government. Two significant changes to the race format: the race will be only individual, and the first stage in Porretta Terme becomes a time trial

Italy seems to have left behind the most critical phase of the Covid-19 emergency, but attention needs to stay high as cycling competitions are about to restart in the Country. The organizers of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race are putting in the utter effort so that the stage race, scheduled from September 27th to October 3rd, can be held in total safety for athletes, insiders, and the public.

The Italian Cycling Federation ensured the possibility to return racing, respecting the prevention guidelines for individual or collective races. Appenninica’s organizing committee has, therefore, made significant arrangements to reduce any risk situation significantly.

In recent weeks the organizers have been constantly in touch with the athletes and their staff, updating them on the developments of the emergency in Italy and the conduct codes established by the national and sporting authorities. At the same time, in addition to creating the Anti-Infection Committee, Appenninica is instructing its staff, volunteers, and external partners to provide more extensive knowledge of the prevention measures.

The so-called “Yellow Zone”, which brings together athletes and professionals, will be kept under close surveillance to avoid unnecessary contacts and maintain, wherever possible, social distance. For this reason, some technical procedures initially planned will be modified, or deleted, to minimize the risk of gathering in sensitive areas.

In addition to temperature measurement with thermoscanners, there will be several stations dispensing gel sanitizer and specific signals with the conduct rules in the race and common areas. Precautions will also be taken for refreshments and evening dinners, avoiding buffets, while athletes will be forbidden to exchange bottles among them.

“FCI guidelines follow the right way for the prevention – Beppe Salerno, co-organizer along with Milena Bettocchi, explains -. At this stage, it is crucial to be cautious, because the Covid-19 has still to be defeated. We are confident that these measures, together with the common sense of all those involved, will allow us to race in complete safety”.

For this reason, two relevant modifications to the race format were decided to further reduce the risk of infection. The first is the abolition of the “Team” category for the 2020 edition: therefore each biker will compete individually and not in pairs, with all riders being reassigned to their individual categories: “In this situation, bike, tools and any other object in and outside the race must be personal, and also the exchange of water bottles and bars is not allowed: we love the ‘Team’ formula, but we believe it is safer to renounce it as a further preventive measure for this year. Moreover, with the current extraordinary regulations, the podium is necessarily limited to three athletes”, Beppe Salerno explained.

The second change concerns the first stage on Sunday, September 27th, starting and finishing in Porretta Terme (Bologna), which becomes an individual time trial. Such an option will allow better management of the starts, with distanced starting grids enacted from stage two.

Useful information about Appenninica

Appenninica is a full-service race, so the registration fee already includes many services: from overnight stays to meals and technical assistance and many others. However, some extra service packages are also available to make the experience more complete and comfortable.

The race will touch four provinces, in four municipalities immersed in the Apennines beauty, over seven stages. It will start from Porretta Terme (Bologna), that will host the first stage (individual time trial) and the start of the second, then move to Fanano (Modena) and from the fourth, the Queen Stage of over 4000 meters of elevation gain, in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia). The finish of the last two stages will be in Noceto (Parma), in the heart of the Parmigiano Reggiano production area. THE STAGES IN DETAIL

Registrations for Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race are open on the website. Teams that have not yet had the opportunity to plan the 2020 season can contact the organizers for participation.

 

KeForma and Strategic Nutrition Center join Appenninica’s team

The new “Official Sports Nutrition Partners” of the MTB stage race (September 27th-October 3rd, 2020) will give athletes an essential nutritional and integrative contribution.

Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race family has grown bigger thanks to the agreement with KeForma and Strategic Nutrition Center, which become “Official Sports Nutrition Partner” for the second edition of the MTB stage race, scheduled from September 27th to October 3rd, 2020.

 To face a challenge like Appenninica, you need to pay special attention to details, like training, materials, rest time, and the choice of correct nutrition.

KeForma will give an important contribution to the athletes during the racing week on the Emilian Apennines, including its products in the athletes’ race package and making them available in the feed zones along the course, at the start and finish of the various stages.

The company from San Marino produces a complete line of supplements thought for sports and physical well-being, using active ingredients and certified raw materials of the highest quality, aimed at the specific needs of athletes of any level. Over the last few years, KeForma supplements have received remarkable awards from numerous professional teams and internationally renowned athletes. They are now ready to get involved with the challenge of Appenninica.

Joining the field is also Strategic Nutrition Center, whose mission and method perfectly match with Appenninica. The Bologna-based center’s philosophy focuses on teamwork, synergy, and confrontation with other professionals, with improvement, innovation, and continuous learning as a goal.

Born from the idea of Dr. Lorenzo Bergami, Nutritionist Biologist, an expert in Sports Nutrition, Integration and Nutraceutical and Anti-aging Potentiative Medicine, Strategic Nutrition Center will be at Appenninica with a team of experts, giving athletes the opportunity to undergo a Body Composition visit (BIA) at the start and finish of some stages.

“We decided to collaborate with Appenninica, because we love challenges, and teaming up with those who thrive for them – Dr. Bergami explains -. Seven stages in the Emilian Apennines woods are a unique opportunity for riders to test themselves and see how far they can get: any time they should be in trouble, we will be on hand to support them to the finish line”.

Appenninica welcomes Olympian Regina Marunde

The German MTB International from 1991 to 2004 took part in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics and is now ready to test herself on the trails of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race

The passion for mountain biking never vanishes, no matter if you are no longer a professional. Regina Marunde, born in 1968, knows it well: after having trod the most important MTB international races between the 90s and 2000 as a professional, she is still looking for new challenges on her bike in her present as as osteopath and personal trainer.

Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, scheduled from September 27th to October 3rd, is one of these challenges, and the German athlete from Berlin looks to have fun and discover the hurdles of the Emilian Apennines.

“I cannot wait to face the real mountains again after the break due to the virus – Regina admits -. Staying in Berlin without the opportunity to test myself on challenging races was really frustrating, so I am eager to discover the routes of the Emilian Apennines and do what I like most: take my MTB and enjoy some real trails”.

Regina Marunde was a German international from 1991 to 2004, taking part in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where she finished seventh, and in several World Championships and Cups. She had a good chance of being selected for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games as well, but a bad fall caused her several fractures, with no chances to recover in time to go to Greece. That year, in fact, she managed to win the challenging Transalp in the German Alps, going on to finish third the following year.

Appenninica changes dates, moves to September 27th- October 3rd 2020

Noted the persistent uncertainty about the regular course of sports events, the MTB stage race’s organizers decided to postpone the MTB stage race to the autumn: “We want to offer more guarantees”

There is to wait a couple of months longer than expected to live the Mountain Bike challenge in the heart of Emilian Apennines. Having assessed the constant situation of uncertainty regarding the conditions and methods of carrying out sports events after the emergency from Covid-19, Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race decided to postpone the second edition of the race to the next autumn, from September 27th to October 3rd, 2020.

The main features of the race will not change even if there will be a few more yellow leaves. Originally scheduled from July 19th to 25th, Appenninica ranks among the hardest stage races in the international calendar and the Emilian Apennines, through the provinces of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Parma, are the ideal setting.

“These dates give us more guarantees and meet the needs of everyone – Beppe Salerno, Head of the organizing committee along with Milena Bettocchi, explains -. We evaluated the situation day by day because a 460 km stage race in seven days requires planning and coordination, and this seemed to be the best choice for us. We are particularly grateful to the sponsors, and to the four host municipalities, Alto Reno Terme, Fanano, Castelnovo ne’ Monti, and Noceto, that have not pulled back and also supported the new placement in the calendar”.

The ambition to repeat the first edition’s success motivates the organizers: “Only a few MTB stage races are still standing in this very tough season. Despite the difficult circumstances, we are part of a small group of tenacious organizers who are still hoping to deliver a great experience to their participants.”

Determination, but also a keen awareness of the existing situation: “The Appenninica Family’s safety comes first for us. We are in touch with all the participants to inform them of every development, monitor the health and regulatory evolution daily, and we are studying the most appropriate solutions so that everyone can live the experience in the utmost safety and serenity. We hope that the good signals coming out from this lockdown phase will be confirmed and that these two more months allow us to race Appenninica in its usual entertaining atmosphere”.

As already made clear by Appenninica’s organizers, no one will lose his participation fee. “In these days we talked with our athletes, and many of them were enthusiasts for the new dates,” Salerno continues -. “Anyway, since the beginning of the emergency, we ensured alternatives for anybody who wouldn’t be able to participate under these conditions.”

The participation fees already paid for the 2020 edition will roll over to the new dates – from September 27th to October 3rd – and if the rider is not available to attend the event in 2020 for any reason, the participation fee will be valid for the 2021 event.

All the registered riders also have the option to cancel according to the current cancellation policy.

Appenninica doesn’t stop and ponders Autumn move

Pending the decisions of the Italian Government, the organizers continue to work for the 19-25 July fixture, while also weighing options for an alternative date in September/ October 2020, should the original one become unavailable

In Italy activities are gradually reopening, but there is still little certainty about sports events, whose organizers are trying to realize what will be feasible or not in the next few months.

Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race keeps working on its second edition, though the original dates, from July 19 to 25, will remain on the mend until the Italian Government and the Italian Cycling Federation will deliberate on the regulations on mass events. Possible restrictions for international travelling will also factor in the Asd Happy Trail MTB organizers’ decision.

“The ministerial decree has restored the possibility to circulate by bike from May 4thBeppe Salerno, Head of the organizing committee along with Milena Bettocchi, explained -. At the same time, we don’t have the elements to make a final call on the Appenninica’s date just yet. We acknowledge that there is a chance July 19-25 could be too premature in this situation: that is why we are doing our due diligence with our partners, host municipalities, Italian Cycling Federation and sponsors, to verify the option of pushing the event to September or October.”

A final decision will be taken by the end of May. Appenninica organizers had already previously taken stock of the unique circumstances, and modified the cancellation policy, so to ensure to all the registered athletes and to those willing to participate the utmost flexibility and peace of mind.

 

Parmigiano Reggiano supports hospitals in Covid-19 fight

The main partner of Appenninica MTB Stage Races has allocated one million euros to support the hospitals’ work and sustain its dairies

Ph. E. Melchiorri

The love for your own territory can be expressed in many ways and Parmigiano Reggiano, title sponsor of Appenninica MTB Stage Race, scheduled from July 19th to 25th, chose to act.

The consortium took the field to support Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantua‘s hospitals during this period of critical health emergency.

The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium’s Board of Direction has decided the allocation of one million euros for emergency supplies, destined in particular to purchase technical equipment such as ambulances and respirators.

In addition, a supply of cheese will be donated to the hospital for the nutrition of its operators, to help relieve the efforts of doctors and nurses fighting day and night against Covid-19 since several weeks.

In this very tough juncture also from an economic point of view, the consortium chose to adopt an internal solidarity policy for its 330 dairies with PDO productions. A financial contribution will be paid to the dairies that are currently unable to process milk into cheese, due to quarantine or Covid-19 related provisions, and are therefore forced to sell it at a low price as drinking milk.

Parmigiano Reggiano follows a strict production discipline that counts a limited production area, including the mountain and pre-mountain communities of the Apennines in the provinces of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia and Parma, right where Appenninica MTB Stage Race will take place.

In an overall challenging moment for Italy as a whole, Emilia-Romagna has certainly been affected intensely. The Appenninica organizing team is grateful to Parmigiano Reggiano for the important contribution to the health services and companies in the area, and proud of partnering with a company so strongly bound to the territory we love so fondly.

Appenninica offers certainties: full guarantee for the participants

The MTB stage race is working for the 2020 edition (19-25 July) and facing the COVID-19 health emergency: in case of postponement of renouncement for Coronavirus-related reasons, the registration will be kept valid for the next edition

Italian and International media are invaded by the COVID-19 emergency, many sport events have been cancelled and calendars turned upside down. However, in this uncertain juncture, Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race wants to be close to its participants and to all those wishing to join the race, scheduled from the next July 19th to 25th. The event’s policy has been amended in order to allow everybody to make their choices in full serenity.

The organizers keep working for the event from their home places, respecting the decree issued by the Italian Government, with the goal of being ready on the starting line in Porretta Terme (Bologna). “As difficult as it is to talk about MTB on days like these, when other issues are coming to the fore, the experience of endurance races as Appenninica is the perfect metaphor for situations like this, in which it is necessary to make renunciations and sacrifices in order to reach the goal” Milena Bettocchi of organizing company Asd Happy Trail MTB explained.

“We are confident that Appenninica will be able to take place as planned, in the special atmosphere that characterized the first edition. We believe it is important to think positive, especially in moments like this. At the same time, we are keeping a very close eye on the COVID-19 emergency and developments, and we feel the responsibility of going the extra mile to reassure our registered participants and those who are considering to join”.

Making choices in this moment can be tough, and that’s why Appenninica has decided to make some important changes in both its registration and cancellation policies.

The organizers have decided to eliminate the “Late Registration” price bracket altogether and, therefore, apply the “Regular Registration” fee from now until registration closes.

The cancellation policy is instead modified accordingly to the following:

Should Appenninica be canceled by the organizer due to the COVID-19 emergency, the participation fee isn’t lost, and it will become a credit for the participant to take part in a later 2020 race or, should postponing not be possible, towards the 2021 edition.

Should an athlete withdraw from the 2020 edition – July or the postponed date – due to reasons linked to the COVID-19 health emergency and backed by objective and proven reasons, in such event the participation fee will be rolled over to the 2021 event.

All riders registered have the option to cancel according to the cancellation policy at the time, or to roll over their registration as a full credit towards the new 2020 date or 2021 event.

In the uncertainty caused by the virus, Appenninica wants to give a certainty to its athletes: no one will lose their participation fee because of COVID-19.

 

When the tough gets going: Appenninica’s Queen Stage

105 km and over 4,200 meters of elevation gain: plenty of fun and suffering in the fourth stage of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, from Fanano to Castelnovo ne’ Monti. It will be one of the hardest stages of the whole 2020 MTB season

There will be plenty to discover and plenty to conquer through the 458 km of the 2020 edition of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, facing continuous gradients up and down, scattered all over the seven stages from July 19th to 25th, dealing with dirt roads, stones and single trails.

However, there is a date circled in red by all the Appenninica’s braves: Wednesday, July 22nd, the day of stage 4, the Queen stage of this edition. 105 km from Fanano (Modena) to Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) with over 4200 meters of elevation gain. The elevation gain to kilometres ratio makes the Queen Stage of Appenninica one of the hardest of all the stage races in 2020: a reason of extra pride for those who will be able to complete it.

“The interpretation of this stage won’t be easy – Course Director Luca Bortolotti explained -. After the start in Fanano, we will head towards the Mount Cimone, a climb mainly in tarmac of almost 18 kilometers with fairly constant gradient. The last part will be on a forest road and we will move on a ridge that will precede the first long descent towards Pievepelago, all on trail, and a final part on an old mule track, with many curves”.

“It is important to recover in this section as in Pievepelago a new ascent begins along the Rio Perticara that leads to the Passo del Saltello: another long climb on a trail. In fact, from kilometer 30 to 95 we will have 90% of dirt roads, which will test the abilities of the athletes with many pitfalls and no space to breathe”.

“After descending to Civago, riders will find one of the most beautiful and fascinating trails of the whole week. From Civago, they will climb up through a long cross, very technical and full of “ups and downs”, sure to be felt in the riders’ legs aster 70 km. The athletes will then arrive in Rescadore with a fast section, with many changes of pace on a surface full of stones and obstacles. From there another long ascent runs alongside the refuge Mount Orsaro and ends on the Passo della Cisa, where the riders will be able to breathe for a few moments. A trail leads up to the medieval village of Sologno and then to the bridge that crosses the Secchia river, from where it is possible to admire the Bismantova Rock. They will then return on asphalt on the provincial road until the finish of Castelnovo ne’ Monti”.

The stage winner will take six to six and half hours to finish the race, “but even the most trained riders will have to suffer”, Bortolotti said. But the true nature of Appenninica is to win the challenge with yourself, regardless the GC position. That’s why Appenninica opted to abolish the time limit for the two stages longer than 100 km. “We want everyone to come to Appenninica with the desire of testing themselves and give them the opportunity to succeed. We are their main supporters” Bortolotti concluded.

On the day, the bikers will race in the midst of the Parmigiano Reggiano production area, and a breathtaking scenary will frame their efforts on the MTB. It is not by coincidence that the Tuscan and Emilian Apennines, where the majority of the Appenninica action unfolds, were chosen by the UNESCO as MAB Reserve (Man and the Biosphere) to promote a balanced relationship between man and the environment through the protection of biodiversity and good practices of sustainable development.

Efforts rewarded by high-class services at Appenninica

There are many ways to live the experience in the Emilian Apennines from July 19th to 25th, with the full-service formula and quality extras. On February 29th the “regular registration” period ends

Race plus adventure: that’s the formula that inspired the concepts the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race organizers to create a unique mix of unexplored trails, scenic beauties, steep climbs and technical descents, all to discover in an unforgettable week, from July 19th to 25th. But the journey is only part of the experience.

As in the first edition and following the standards of the main international MTB stages races, Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race is a “full service” race. Within the registration fee, athletes are provided services such as accommodation, dinners, refreshments and everything else necessary to face the adventure, focusing only on enjoying it in full.

As traditional for marathon stage races, the athletes will be offered inside dormitories set up in the host locations for the overnight stays. However, those who want to treat themselves with some extra comfort will have access to two hotel options, of different levels, with an additional cost.

In a territory with a great gastronomic tradition such as the Emilian Apennines, house of the main sponsor Parmigiano Reggiano, every day Appenninica offers its participants breakfasts and dinners with typical products of the area, with attention also to vegetarian diets. In addition, riders will find a well-deserved lunch based on fruits and carbohydrates at the end of each stage.

Refreshments, complete or liquid, will be offered during the stages. Fresh fruit and dried fruit, sweet and savory bread, tarts, energy bars and gels, isotonic sports drinks with salts, water and cola will be available in the complete refreshments, while gel and energy drinks will be offered in the liquid ones.

A one-week stage race can be very stressful for a bike, and that’s why an emergency mechanical repairs of emergency and lubrication point will be located at one of the refreshments area on the route, while self-service bikes washing will be available at the end of the stage with hydro-low pressure cleaning machines. The safe bike park, guarded day and night, is available to every competitor, each of whom will be equipped with a GPS tracker to ensure maximum safety, to monitor the position in the race at all times, and be able to detect any problems and take action if needed.

For those less accustomed to bicycle maintenance, it will also be possible to get some help from the mechanical assistance service out of the race, at an extra cost: the mechanics will wait for the bike at the end of each effort, to return it in perfect condition the next morning.

Also muscles need care after the efforts of Appenninica: for those who want to treat their muscles after the fatigues of day, a guided stretching with a certified Yoga instructor will be held, while massages of 25 minutes with a physiotherapist will be available as an optional package.

The organizers of Appenninica thought of many ways to customize the race experience, also for those who want to live the experience not on the bike, alongside their beloved ones. For those who want to face the adventure accompanied by not-participating wife and children or wish to add a few days of relax to the efforts of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, Tourissimo-Active Travel in Italy offers the possibility to arrive a few days in advance for a short SPA holiday in Alto Reno Terme (Porretta) or to stop after the race to explore the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna and the delicacies of the Parmigiano Reggiano dairies.

“Supporter” and “touristic” packages are thought for non-racers. The first allows access to the Race Village and its services, while giving the opportunity to follow the race from inside; the second is designed to be a “real” holiday pack, with its own program parallel to that of the race. Every day is possible to discover something new and special, before heading to the finish area in order not to miss the last meters of the stage of the favorite athlete.

Appenninica registrations start with a bang: 50 Early Bird spots already sold out

The first days of registrations for the 2023 edition (September 4-9) recorded an immediate success, selling out the whole early-bird contingent in just a week. The organizers offer another opportunity: 20 more early-bird slots to be claimed by December 18th

The crave for the Appenninica MTB Stage Race is sky-high. There are still ten months to go until the event scheduled from September 4th to 9th, 2023, but it took just one week to burn through the 50 spots made available by the organisation for the Early Bird Registration phase. After the first registration slot opened on December 1st, the race numbers available at a reduced price quickly vanished.

As per tradition, the A.S.D. Happy Trail MTB launch the registrations with a special offer to allow those who have already planned their 2023 season to claim their spot for the challenge on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines at the best possible price. An opportunity seized by fifty riders from all over the world (Netherlands and United States in first place), also highlighting the global appeal achieved by the Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

We are thrilled to have reached the sell-out of the first registration phase in a short time. This result is the consequence of the constant growth in recent years, which has made the event known almost all over the world. To help those who were surprised by such quick progression, we have decided to offer additional slots at the Early Bird price for a limited period”, explained the organizers of Appenninica MTB Stage Race, Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno.

The Early Bird Registration will be extended until Sunday 18 December, with additional 20 places at a special price. A unique opportunity for the many mountain bike fans who want to try an epic six-stage challenge along the Emilia-Romagna Apennines. Appenninica is a full-service race, and the entry fee includes not only the race number but also accommodations, meals, transfers between the stages, and other services.

After the 20 additional Early Bird slots at €1,090 have sold out, the Regular Registration phase will starts, at a fee of €1,290.

New format, same calendar spot: Appenninica looks forward to 2023

The great mountain bike stage race challenge in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines trims its race days to six. The 2023 edition will take place from September 4 to 9; registration opens on December 1

The organizers of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race don’t like standing still. Following a 2022 edition, which earned excellent feedback from the world at large, the stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines has already set the dates to be circled in red by champions and fans alike. The fifth edition of Italy’s most important MTB stage race will take place from September 4-9, 2023.

The dates reveal the first significant new development for the 2023 edition. The ASD Happy Trail MTB organizers have opted for a new 6-day race format instead of the previous seven, while maintaining the usual calendar dates in the first half of September. This choice was made to favor athletes in terms of logistics, and for a smoother race execution. Even with this new format, the appeal of one of the most challenging international races – as recognized by athletes and insiders alike – remains untouched.

The 2022 edition has consolidated our growth. For this reason, we wanted to introduce a new format that won’t change the nature of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race but will allow us to improve some aspects at the logistical level, and also meet the needs of athletes, as well as improve the race experience. For 2023 there will be six stages instead of seven, but the setting in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines will be unchanged, as will the difficulty and epic nature of the challenge conceived by Appenninica. We believe it can enhance the event’s value,” said Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno, co-organizers of the stage race.

The countdown to registration kicks off with the announcement of the 2023 dates. The “Early Bird” phase will officially open on Thursday, December 1, and end on December 31. Only fifty slots will be available at a reduced price during this period. Appenninica is a full-service race, and the entry fee not only includes the race number but also accommodations, meals, transfers between the stages, and other services. The entry fee will then increase in subsequent steps from January 1.

As for the last four editions, the organizers have confirmed the solo racer format and the number of race participants set to a maximum of 150. This number is aimed at avoiding overcrowding on the trails and ensuring a high standard of quality support for all participants.

Arias and Diesner put their final stamp on the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race

The two overall victors also took the last stage starting and finishing in Vidiciatico, in the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere. There were ninety-six finishers in an exciting edition experienced by athletes from 28 nations who came to discover the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna

They were the strongest racers all week and they wanted to punctuate this fact in the final stage as well. The 37-kilometer stage featured 1550 meters of climbing with start and finish from Vidiciatico in the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere. The fourth edition of 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race ended on Saturday, September 10Diego Arias and Naima Diesner were the winners.

The Colombian racer from the Hubbers-Polimedical team started out as a race favorite and he proved to be the strongest each day. This was true in the seventh stage as well, which Arias finished in 1:56:13. The general classification leader wanted to make his mark from the start by forging a white-hot pace on the trails of Monte PizzoMiguel Munoz Moreno (DMT Racing Team) finished 3:57 behind the leader with Felix Fritzsch down by 5:50 from Arias.

Arias’ debut at Appenninica was crowned with five stage wins and the victory in the general classification. The Colombian racer finished all seven stages totaling almost 450 kilometers with 16,000 meters of climbing in 22:05:11. Behind him were the two DMT Racing Team riders, with Portugal’s Francisco Filipe in second at 34:42, and Spain’s Miguel Munoz Moreno in third at 1:08:05. Completing the top five spots at the 2022 Appenninica were Dutchman Gosse van der Meer (Euro Cycling) in fourth, and Federico Mandelli (Piraz Coaching MTB Academy) in fifth. Mandelli was also the first Italian in the GC.

“I came out of the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race with good legs, I managed the race well during all seven stages. It was a very nice week in a fantastic area with a mixed course full of climbs. I’m happy to have had this experience and next year, I hope to come back and defend the title. Now I head to the MTB marathon world championships – I think there’s no better preparation for the rainbow challenge,” was Diego Arias’ final comment after winning.

NAIMA DIESNER TAKES THE TITLE

Having beaten the competition last year, Naima Diesner came back to prove herself in the 2022 edition. Diesner won the women’s general classification for the second consecutive year – this time leaving nothing to her rivals. Having won all seven stages like Esther Süss did in 2020, she finished her effort with a final time of 30:48:27.

Diesner also won the final stage in 2:45:42, with a margin of 12:31 over Debora Lana and 20:51 over Camilla Marinelli at the finish in Lizzano in Belvedere. The two Italians also finished second and third respectively in the general classification with more than an hour down from the German BUFF-Megamo racer. Completing the women’s top five were Elena Novikova in fourth place, and Rozanne Slik in fifth.

 

“It was a wonderful adventure again this year, I am delighted to have won. For me the Appenninica MTB Stage Race is like a family, I love the atmosphere of friendship after the hard work in the stages, it makes me feel at home. I can’t wait to come back again next year,” Naima Diesner said as she finished the week as the absolute star.

ALL CLASSIFICATIONS: MASTER, GRAND MASTER, GREAT GRAND MASTER

Not only was there a race for the men’s and women’s rankings in the GC, the Appenninica MTB Stage Race was also a week of battles in three other race categories: Master (over 40), Grand Master (over 50), and Great Grand Master (over 60).

In the Masters, the overall winner was the Russian Andrey Dianov ahead of Francesco Gaffuri and Thomas Jauner. Winning the Grand Master category was Slovenia’s Peter Vesel, while Italians Paolo Viglione and Federico Celeghini completed the podium in second and third place. There was another Slovenian victory in the Great Grand Master category, where Aleš Boben won ahead of Evžen Reitschläger and Raffaele Verzella.

96 FINISHERS AND A WORLD SPOTLIGHT FOR THE EMILIA-ROMAGNA APENNINES

With 28 nations represented at the start in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, Appenninica made a name for itself as the perfect promotional event for the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna. Participants will remember the picturesque landscapes and regional culinary delights worthy of a postcard that have become the winning formula to grow the event year after year.

“Once again this year, we’ve managed to satisfy the participants, which confirms the good work we’ve done over the past few years. The Appenninica MTB Stage Race is increasingly recognized and valued at an international level – this is also thanks to the experience as expressed by past participants. The goal is to continue along this path by offering a race that is increasingly a mix of competition and adventure – a tough and demanding challenge to be experienced immersed in the beauty of the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna,” was the final word from co-organizers of A.s.d. Happy Trail MTB, Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi.

Encore for Munoz Moreno in Lizzano. Arias and Diesner still leaders

The Spanish racer from the DMT Racing Team sprints to his second stage win at the finish in Lizzano in Belvedere in the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Arias and Filipe complete the podium of the “Il Corno” stage. Sixth victory in six stages for Naima Diesner in the women’s race.

Miguel Munoz Moreno performed an encore in Lizzano in Belvedere. After his win in Fanano, the Spanish racer of the DMT Racing Team took his second stage victory of the 2022 edition of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race on Friday, September 9. For the women, Naima Diesner took her sixth victory of this edition in the Il Corno stage, featuring 59 kilometers and 2600 meters of elevation gain, which started from Porretta Terme.

It was a sprint victory for Munoz Moreno, who outsprinted Diego Arias and teammate, Francisco Filipe, to finish in 3:14:56. Riding together, the trio set the pace from the race’s first kilometers. The Spaniard took the lead on the descent from Lago Scaffaiolo to the finish, which was a winning decision because it allowed him to get out in front of his chasers in the narrow streets of Lizzano in Belvedere.

The general classification remains unchanged with Diego Arias holding his position as leader. The Colombian’s advantage over Filipe, who’s second in the general classification, is 27:15, while today’s winner is firmly in third place in the GC with a time gap of 1:04:09.

“It was a hard stage with a lot of tough climbs,” Munoz Moreno said after winning the stage. “I wanted the victory, and I pushed right from the start. We were three and I set my own pace. With three kilometers to go I attacked for the first time, but it was in the second attack that I managed to take the lead and win the sprint. Too bad about the crash on the second day because I think I could have gone for the overall victory.”

“It was a beautiful stage that we rode at a high pace. Munoz Moreno was clever to pass me in the last few corners, congratulations to him,” commented general classification leader, Diego Arias.

DIESNER IS ON A WINNING STREAK, BEHIND HER IT’S A FIGHT FOR SECOND

A new stage, a new victory for Naima Diesner. The German racer of the BUFF-Megamo team achieved her sixth victory out of six stages at the Appenninica by crossing the finish line in Lizzano in Belvedere with a time of 4:19:07. Behind her was Debora Lana at 11:03 back, while third was once again Elena Novikova14:12 behind the German rider.

Diesner’s goal now is to complete the 2022 Appenninica by winning all the stages, as Esther Süss did in 2020. She seems to have the general classification all locked up, while behind her there’s a fight for second place between Debora Lana and Camilla Marinelli. Thanks to today’s result, Lana is now second with a lead of only 8:50 over Marinelli. The last stage will decide who of the two will take second in the GC.

“It was another good stage that I remembered from last year. I set my own pace for the race, and even today, I finished with a smile,” remarked Naima Diesner at the finish.

GRAND FINALE IN LIZZANO IN BELVEDERE

The final stage of the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race is a 37-kilometer circuit with 1550 meters of climbing, with start and finish in Vidiciatico, in the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere. The Monte Pizzo isn’t only the final stage, it’s a stage full of pitfalls to manage before one can win the finisher’s medal. The athletes will tackle the Cuplina trail twice and the Albaré singletrack descent once. The final celebration will take place at the Piscina Conca del Sole in Vidiciatico.

Arias wins again, Diesner breaks a record

In stage 5, the general classification leader takes his fourth victory at the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race from Fanano to Porretta Terme. Behind him the DMT Racing Team duo of Munoz Moreno and Filipe claim second and third place respectively. With her eighth consecutive victory, Naima Diesner writes her own page in the race’s history boo

Diego Arias and Naima Diesner once again staked their claim as the masters of the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Their triumphant rides rolled onward with victory in a fifth stage that added up 60 kilometers with 1,700 meters of elevation gain from Fanano to Porretta Terme on Thursday, September 8.

After Miguel Munoz Moreno’s victory in Fanano, the Hubbers-Polimedical racer came back to dominate in Porretta Terme. Arias completed his effort in 2:39:17 – 3:09 ahead of the Spaniard from the DMT Racing Team and 7:04 ahead of Francisco Filipe. The men’s GC leader set the pace from the first part of the race and soloed to the win at the finish line.

Riding in chase behind Arias was Felix Fritzsch along with the DMT Racing Team duo. Fritzsch unfortunately had to surrender his spot due to a mechanical problem and he paid the price: 1:19:35 down from the leader at the finish line. The German’s result has renewed the battle in the general classification. Filipe claimed second place behind Arias at 27:14 back, while in third place was his teammate at 1:04:11 behind the Colombian.

“Today I felt very good again; yesterday I preferred to save my energy. I took advantage on a very slippery climb and tried to go it alone, at my own pace. I also enjoyed the scenery, I am happy with this fourth victory and to have increased my lead in the general classification,” Diego Arias explained at the finish.

NAIMA DIESNER SMASHES ESTHER SÜSS’ RECORD

It was in the air and so it happened: Naima Diesner scored her fifth victory – her eighth consecutive win at the Appenninica, thus breaking the record of consecutive wins (7) held by Esther Süss after the 2020 edition. The German racer from the BUFF-Megamo team won in 3:40:39, with a lead of 10:59 over Elena Novikova and 12:58 over Rozanne Slik at the finish line in Porretta Terme.

Diesner’s next goal will be to hit the streak of seven wins out of seven in the same edition, which is currently held by Süss. The German racer has secured the general classification with more than an hour ahead of Camilla Marinelli and Debora Lana.

“Today is a special day and I am happy with this record. It was a very beautiful stage, full of ups and downs with beautiful scenery,” said Naima Diesner.

FROM PORRETTA TO LIZZANO IN THE CORNO ALLE SCALE AREA

Coming up is the penultimate effort for the Appenninica athletes, who will reach Lizzano in Belvedere from Porretta Terme by way of 63 kilometers and 2700 meters of elevation gain. Within the first 30 kilometers they will be deep in untouched forest trails absent of human settlements, but the route will become difficult after km 37. The day’s most demanding climb is the one heading up to the Passo dello Strofinatoio (6 km with 600 meters of elevation), with a hike-a-bike section in the last 500 meters. The final stretch is downhill to the finish in Lizzano in Belvedere.

Munoz Moreno takes the day in Fanano. Diesner poised for a record ride

The Spanish racer from the DMT Racing Team wins the Pippo Yeah 2.0 ahead of leader Arias, who consolidated his lead over his immediate rivals. Third place on the day went to Francisco Filipe. Naima Diesner confirms herself as the undisputed queen among the women

After the efforts of the High Mountain Queen Stage, it was time for some pure fun at the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. The “Pippo Yeah 2.0,” designed by the famous trail builder, Pier Paolo “Pippo” Marani, was the star of the stage on Wednesday, September 7. At the finish line in Fanano, it was Miguel Munoz Moreno, who won the men’s race, and Naima Diesner, who won the women’s race.

After a fall in Stage 2, the Spanish racer from the DMT Racing Team had his day when he proudly crossed the finish line in Piazza Corsini in Fanano with a time of 3:02:27. Behind him, the general classification leader, Diego Arias, controlled the situation and arrived at the finish just 1:48 back from the stage winner. The Hubbers-Polimedical rider, however, gained time in the standings, as the other DMT Racing Team athlete, Francisco Filipe, arrived at the finish line 8:21 behind his teammate.

Immediately after the start, Diego Arias rode in support of fellow teammate, Filippo Bertone, who tried to attack from a distance. However, it wasn’t the Italian’s day, because Miguel Munoz Moreno had already planned his revenge and, on the climb to the Colombino Pass, Munoz Moreno waved goodbye to the group. Behind him, his teammate, Francisco Filipe, continued along with Diego Arias until they reached the second climb to the Passo della Croce Arcana, where the Portuguese racer could no longer cling to the leader’s wheels.

Arias now has a lead of 20:11 over Filipe in the general classification. Behind them, Munoz Moreno promises a fight for the podium. The Spaniard has a time gap of 1:01:01 from the leader, and promises to take aim at third place in the general classification – currently held by Felix Fritzsch, who’s down 26:50 from the Colombian race leader.

“Nice day and nice stage, I had fun,” Miguel Munoz Moreno said after his victory. “This morning I felt good, I had good legs, and I decided to try attacking on the first climb from further back. It was a very physical and very technical stage; it suited my abilities. I still feel good, and I will try to attack in the coming days to get on the podium.”

 

Also satisfied at the finish was Arias, who further consolidated his lead in the general classification. “I tried to help my teammate, Bertone, get away in the first part, then I controlled it until the finish. Nice stage.”

NAIMA DIESNER POISED TO BREAK ESTHER SÜSS’ RECORD

Naima Diesner took her fourth stage victory in this edition, and her seventh consecutive victory at Appenninica considering the three wins in the final three stages of the last edition. If the German racer for the Buff-Megamo team wins again tomorrow in Porretta Terme, she would beat the record of consecutive victories held by Esther Süss, the undisputed ruler in 2019 with seven out of seven victories.

Diesner completed the “Pippo Yeah 2.0” in 4:24:44 with a 9:14 lead over Camilla Marinelli (Bike and Fun Team) and 12:59 over Debora Lana. Both racers will maintain their positions in the general classification, unchanged at more than an hour behind the leader.

“Another beautiful stage, I went at my own pace, I didn’t want to overdo it after yesterday’s efforts. This morning my dad sent me a message and suggested that I enjoy this experience to the maximum. I didn’t know about this record, now I will have a bit more pressure for tomorrow’s stage,” said an always smiling Naima Diesner at the finish.

FROM FANANO TO PORRETTA TERME ALONG THE GOTHIC LINE

With its 67 kilometers and 2,200 meters of elevation gain, the “Gothic Line” is the second longest stage in the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Tomorrow the racers will enter the Province of Bologna by going from Fanano to Porretta Terme and following the route of the Gothic Line, a key setting during the Second World War.

After the start, the racers will climb back up to Fellicarolo and then return to the valley of the Ospitale. From there a series of ups and downs will take the athletes to the final climb to reach the picturesque village of Monteacuto delle Alpi. Two technical descents in the final kilometers will challenge riders before the finish in Porretta Terme.

Arias and Diesner strengthen GC hold with High Mountain Queen Stage wins

The Colombian racer of the Hubbers-Polimedical team managed the High Mountain Queen Stage’s 105 kilometers and overtook Felix Fritzsch on the final climb. Francisco Filipe consolidated third place. Naima Diesner is increasingly the queen among the women

In keeping with tradition at the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, today’s stage was the most eagerly awaited one and it did not disappoint. The High Mountain Queen Stage took place on Tuesday, September 6, and named its winners: Diego Arias and Naima Diesner. The two general classification leaders confirmed their supremacy along the 105-kilometer route from Castelnovo ne’ Monti to Fanano with a punishing 3650 meters of climbing.

Unlike in the first two stages, Diego Arias decided to control the long kilometers by waiting until the race’s end to launch the winning attack. In fact, it was only on the final climb to Pian Cavallaro where the Colombian racer of the Hubbers-Polimedical team was able to free himself of Francisco Filipe (DMT Racing Team) and Felix Fritzsch (R2 MTN CREW) to arrive at the finish in Fanano with a time of 5:22:46, just 59 seconds ahead of his German rival and 5:14 ahead of the Portuguese racer.

The three riders led the entire race by setting a blistering pace from the day’s first climb toward the Passo della Cisa. It was only near the end when the trio splintered on the final ascent, where Diego Arias ramped up his pace and shook off Francisco Filipe halfway up the climb. Felix Fritzsch continued to nip at his wheels until Fritzsch surrendered just before the descent. The Colombian racer took control of the situation on the technical descent and rode cautiously to avoid unnecessary risks.

The Hubbers-Polimedical rider further consolidated his lead by stretching his time gap with Francisco Filipe to 13:35, while the German winner of last year’s edition is only 57″ from second place.

“We all maintained a consistent pace because it was a long stage; it seemed endless. On the last climb I went at my own pace and made a move, then controlled the final descent, which was very technical. I am really enjoying the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, I think it’s a very good training race in view of the MTB marathon world championships,” said Arias.

NAIMA DIESNER IS QUEEN IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE

Naima Diesner’s smile continued to light up the women’s race. The German racer is now on her way to an encore performance after her success in 2021 by claiming victory in today’s High Mountain Queen Stage. She stopped the clock at 7:34:45 at the finish in Fanano. From the start the Buff-Megamo team athlete created a vacuum behind her and won by 17:25 ahead of Camilla Marinelli.

After a disappointing second stage, Debora Lana (Bike and Fun Team) returned to the podium today by finishing just over half an hour behind the winner. The Italian racer had to cede second place in the general classification to her compatriot, Camilla Marinelli, who piled on more than an hour in time different from the winner, while fourth-place Elena Novikova lost more ground in the fight for the podium.

“It was a wonderful stage and, unlike last year, it wasn’t rainy, we were able to admire some beautiful landscapes. I really enjoyed it,” Naima Diesner commented at the finish in Fanano.

PURE FUN WITH PIPPO YEAH 2.0 IN FANANO

After the efforts in the High Mountain Queen Stage, it’s time for some fun in Fanano with the stage designed by Pierpaolo “Pippo” Marani. The stage is 55 kilometers with 2200 meters of elevation gain with start and finish in Piazza Corsini.

The “Pippo Yeah 2.0” starts immediately with a 14-kilometer climb to the Passo del Colombino before a singletrack descent to Ospitale. From there the route climbs toward the Passo della Croce Arcana to tackle a stretch on the most famous ridge in the Apennines before the final 18-kilometer run with 15 single track sections to finish in Fanano.

Arias and Diesner try to upset the GC, but the High Mountain Queen Stage is just around the corner

The Colombian strengthened his lead, but Francisco Filipe and Felix Fritzsch wouldn’t give up. Miguel Munoz Moreno lost ground due to a crash. Among the women it was a solo by Diesner, with Camilla Marinelli and Debora Lana as the German racer’s only rivals

The Bismantova Rock confirmed the verdict handed down in the first stage: Diego Arias and Naima Diesner seem to be the strongest opponents in the 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race. The two general classification leaders tried to stuff more time into the GC by imposing leads in the second stage with start and finish in Castelnovo ne’ Monti on Monday, September 5.

The second stage sorted and ranked the men’s field. Once again Diego Arias dominated the stage, called “The Rock,” which stretched 62 kilometers with 2350 meters of elevation gain, with a time of 3:21:25. Arias finished 4:20 ahead of the duo composed of Francisco Filipe (DMT Racing Team) and Felix Fritzsch (R2 MTN CREW), who appeared more energetic than in the opening stage.

The three lead racers along with Miguel Munoz Moreno (DMT Racing Team) set the pace from the start. Same as on Sunday, the Colombian racer from the Hubbers-Polimedical team began to build up his lead around the race’s halfway point. By the time he reached the Ventasso pass, Arias was already more than a minute ahead. Behind him only Fritzsch and Filipe remained in pursuit as they tried to control the damage, while Munoz Moreno lost ground after a crash.

Not even a skid on a slippery section interfered with Arias’s determination; he was able to easily consolidate his lead in the general classification. The Hubbers-Polimedical rider now leads with an advantage of 8:21 over Francisco Filipe and 13:33 over last year’s winner, Felix Fritzsch. The toughest part of 2022 Appenninica MTB Stage Race is yet to come, however, and so much can still happen.

 

“Today I started with the idea to defend myself rather than attack, but at a certain point, I felt that I had good legs and continued with my rhythm,” Diego Arias explained at the finish line. “I tried not to risk more than I had to, and it went well. I’m happy with how I feel and how I’m handling the race. I slipped in a wet section on a small wooden bridge, but fortunately everything was ok. Today’s course was beautiful, with beautiful scenery.”

NAIMA DIESNER CONTINUES TO LEAVE HER MARK

The gap forged by Naima Diesner (Buff-Megamo Team) in the women’s race is even more impressive. Right from the first kilometers, no rival was able to match pace with the German rider, who finished her race in Castelnovo ne’ Monti with a time of 4:44:18. Behind her, Camilla Marinelli (ASD Bike and Fun Team) tried to keep up but she paid another 26 minutes to Diesner in the general.

After an excellent performance in Stage 1, Debora Lana increased the gap between her and the race leader and was forced to surrender her place on today’s podium and in the general classification to Elena Novikova. The Ukrainian finished 30:01 down from the stage winner and is now third overall at almost an hour behind Naima Diesner. Camilla Marinelli was second at 45 minutes 54 seconds behind the leader.

“It was quite a fast stage that I rode at the front – with a lot of climbs, especially in the first part,” Naima Diesner explained. “There was a lot of beautiful scenery, and I really enjoyed the final kilometers. I’m happy to have won again but now it’s important to recover well because tomorrow is the High Mountain Queen Stage, and we know how hard that is.”

THE STAGE OF TRUTH ARRIVES: IT’S TIME FOR THE HIGH MOUNTAIN QUEEN STAGE

If the first two stages served to warm up the legs, the third stage from Castelnovo ne’ Monti to Fanano will leave nowhere to hide. 105 kilometers with 3650 meters of elevation gain are in order for the High Mountain Queen Stage, the toughest and most feared stage in the Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

Much of the route runs 1500 meters above sea level on the trails of the Alta Via dei Parchi. After a fairly easy start, the day’s first climb toward the Passo della Cisa will begin to sort the racers, while the subsequent climbs over Monte Giovarello and the Passo Radici will bring the athletes up to elevation. From there they will continue at elevation to the Pian Cavallaro and then swoop down toward the finish line in Piazza Corsini in Fanano.

Arias and Diesner immediately lay down the law at Appenninica

The Colombian racer from Hubbers-Polimedical and the German racer of the Buff-Megamo Team established their presence in the 52-kilometer opening stage with 1800 meters of elevation gain, with start and finish in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, by distancing the duo from the DMT Racing Team in the men’s race, and Debora Lana in the women’s.

They started out as race favorites, and they didn’t disappoint. Diego Arias and Naima Diesner are the winners in the opening stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2022 that took place on SundaySeptember 4, with start and finish from Piazza Gramsci in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia, Italy). The Colombian racer from the Hubbers-Polimedical team and the German racer of the Buff-Megamo Team took the race reins from the very first kilometers by forging a pace that their rivals were compelled to follow.

The 52 kilometers and 1800 meters of elevation gain of “La Matildica” immediately allowed the athletes to sample the challenges of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race. After sizing up the race in the opening kilometers, Diego Arias took over the race at kilometer 10 and, meter after meter, increased his lead. Behind him, the DMT Racing team duo of Miguel Munoz Moreno and Francisco Filipe tried to mount a chase.

At the race’s midpoint at Castello di Carpineti, the lead that the Colombian racer from Hubbers-Polimedical had opened up stood at four minutes. Arias drove up the pace to progressively widen the gap to more than seven and a half minutes at kilometer 39. By the finish in Piazza Gramsci, the Colombian had completed the stage in 2:26:16, with a lead of 4:01 over Francisco Filipe and Miguel Munoz Moreno. The DMT duo took advantage of a mistake by Arias in the last ten kilometers to reduce the gap at the finish.

Fourth place went to 2021 defending champion, Felix Fritzsch, who paid a 9:13 time debt to the stage king, while Gosse van der Meer (Euro Cycling) finished fifth at 11:29.

“It was a beautiful but tough day,” Diego Arias said at the finish. “The course was treacherous because of the continuous ups and downs, and it was not easy to find a race rhythm. Hard climbs and beautiful descents were made slippery by yesterday’s rain. I felt good and tried to make a move from the first kilometers by driving the pace. Despite a mistake in the final kilometers, I managed to win the stage with a good lead. I will have to watch out for the duo from the DMT Racing Team, but I will do my best to win this wonderful race.”

NAIMA DIESNER PICKS UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF

The year has changed but not the result for Naima Diesner, who after her success in Piazza Peretti last year has repeated her win in Piazza Gramsci. The German racer from the Buff-Megamo Team laid down the law from the very first kilometers to win with a time of 3:29:12.

By the race’s midpoint, Naima Diesner’s lead over Debora Lana was already more than five minutes, and around eight minutes ahead of Camilla Marinelli. This allowed the German to take command of the second part of the stage, and finish 4:21 ahead of Debora Lana (Bici Scoot). Completing the podium was the other Italian, Camilla Marinelli (ASD Bike and Fun Team), who paid a time debt of 19:53 to the leader at the finish line in Piazza Gramsci. A little further back was Ukraine’s Elena Novikova at 22:00, while Rozanne Slik (Wv Nordholand) arrived as expected in fifth, more than a half an hour down from Diesner.

“I am delighted to be here again,” commented a beaming Naima Diesner after the race. “It’s only the first stage, but it was already a very tricky stage because of the very steep climbs and the mud after yesterday’s rain. It immediately reminded me how beautiful the Apennines are. I already have a good advantage and I hope to manage it during the next stages, which will certainly be more difficult.”

IT’S CASTELNOVO NE’ MONTI’S TURN AGAIN

After the opening stage, it will still be a loop around Castelnovo ne’ Monti that will test the athletes in the second stage. With its 62 kilometers and 2,350 meters of elevation gain“The Rock” offers a very fast first part on uphill paths and forest roads until kilometer 25. After passing by Lago Calamone, a climb will take the athletes to the crest of Monte Pastorale, which will lead into a 5-km descent with 700 meters of elevation loss. The finale is a series of ups and downs in the shadow of the Pietra di Bismantova.

The stage has been set by the Bismantova Rock: it’s time for Appenninica

A festive eve in Castelnovo ne’ Monti with “Appenninica lovers,” which brought fans along the race route of the first stage of Appenninica MTB, scheduled for tomorrow, September 4, 2022. Marathon world champion runner-up, Diego Arias, is the race favourite, while the women will fight for Naima Diesner’s crown

There couldn’t have been a warmer welcome by the Bismantova RockCastelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia, Italy) was festively coloured on the eve of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2022, just in time for racers to take to the trails of the Emilia-Romagna Apennine in this edition. Scheduled from tomorrow, September 4, until September 10, 135 participants will take part in the Italian stage race.

The bike has already played a main role, thanks to the Castelnovo Bike Fest, organized in collaboration with Appennino Reggiano Bike assosiations, which brought fans along the race route of the first Appenninica stage. Piazza Gramsci, location of the start/finish for Stage 1, “La Matildica,” (52 km with 1800 meters of elevation gain), hosted the eve day in a festive atmosphere, where food trucks and musical entertainment took the spotlight. 

From tomorrow onward it will be serious business and all eyes will be on Diego Arias. The runner-up mtb marathon world champion will start out as the race favourite, but he will have to reckon with Felix Fritzsch, who doesn’t intend to leave the throne unchallenged. The athletes of the DMT Racing Team are also out to win, with Miguel Munoz Moreno leading the Italian team, while the Dutchmen, Gosse van der Meer and Evert Koning, could each play the role of outsider, and so could the Italian, Filippo Bertone.

In the women’s field, Naima Diesner is back with every intention to confirm her position as Appenninica’s queen, but she will have to face a tough bunch of fierce rivals, starting with Ukraine’s Elena Novikova, who’s an expert in long-distance racing, to former Olympic road athletes, Maaike Polspoel and Rozanne Slik. For Italy, the ranking hopes are on the shoulders of Camilla Marinelli, while Lithuanian Ieva Venckute starts as an outsider.

THE ROUTE

After the first section, a loop around Castelnovo ne’ Monti through the region of Matilda di Canossa to warm up the legs, the second stage “The Rock,” on Monday, Sept. 5, will start to raise the level of competition with its 62 kilometres and 2350 meters of elevation gain, thanks to a very fast first segment followed by a second one full of ups and downs.

This will only be the appetizer for the “High Mountain Queen Stage” scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 6, and starting from Castelnovo ne’ Monti to Fanano105 km with 3600 meters of elevation gain will determine the general classification through the Monte Cusna area before the climb toward Pian Cavallaro, the last ascent before the finish line in Piazza Corsini.

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, it will be time for some extra fun with the “Pippo Yeah 2.0,” the stage designed by trail builder Pierpaolo “Pippo” Marani55 km and 2200 meters of elevation gain with start and finish in Fanano, will face the climbs of Passo del Colombino and Passo di Croce Arcana, with technical descents and numerous single-track sections in between.

From Fanano to Porretta Terme, on Thursday, Sept. 8, Appenninica racers will tackle 67 kilometres with 2,200 meters of elevation gain along the Linea Gotica (Gothic Line), after which the stage is named. Two technical descents before the finish could make the difference for the final stage victory.

The penultimate route, “Il Corno,” scheduled for Friday, Sept. 9, from Porretta Terme to Lizzano in Belvedere, has plenty of pitfalls. The first 30 km will cross untouched forest trails absent of human settlements, while in the second part of the 63-km stage with 2700 meters of elevation gain, the climb of the Passo dello Strofinatoio will test the athletes.

The grand finale is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10, and counts 37 kilometres with 1550 elevation gain for the “Monte Pizzo” stage, which is immersed in the trails of the Monte Pizzo bike park. Much of the general classification may already be decided, but the route – with start and finish in the village of Vidiciatico, in the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere, hides several pitfalls, in grand Appenninica style.

With twenty-eight Nations, five Continents, Appenninica rides global

The 2022 edition (September 4 to 10, 2022) of the race in the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna confirms its global character. Plenty of stories and curiosities among the nearly 150 competitors at the start

Appenninica MTB Stage has so much more than just the run for victory in it. The nearly 150 competitors who will line up for the 2022 edition (September 4-10) will come with an enticing luggage of stories and experiences, ready for personal challenges with themselves or come to join friends and relatives, or simply in memory of someone.

There will be 28 Nations at the start in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, with all five Continents represented. In addition to the “traditional” Countries in the Appenninica peloton, such as the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom and USA will also field a significant group this time out. For the 2022 edition, the famous Emilia-Romagna hospitality will embrace also athletes from Australia, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica and South Africa.

Every year, the confines of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race family keep extending, and we can only be happy about this trend. Year after year, the athletes who take part in the race spread a positive image of our territory, the atmosphere and the competition, and this motivates and encourages new athletes to join us”, said Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi, co-organizers of the event.

Among the athletes, some will reach Castelnovo ne’ Monti with a personal challenge to face or with the goal of narrating a unique adventure. This is the case of young Dutch cyclocross rider Gosse Van der Meer, who will ride with a GoPro to report on his experience in the Apennines, or Spencer Powlison, a well-known American athlete in the bikers’ community. Coming back to Appenninica from the US for the second year in a row is Mark Anolik, a former international Downhiller, who will seize the chance to rejoin his friend Pierpaolo “Pippo” Marani in Fanano.

Aiming at a significant goal are also those five riders with a chance of entering the Appenninica Hall of Family by achieving a third finisher’s medal: Anton Tieleman, Stefan Kiene, Thomas Jauner, Peter Wouters and Zbig Mossoczy. This last one will also lead a group of Polish athletes to whom he recommended the Appenninica experience.

Among the competitors at the start will be James Hunt and Nathan Hunt, father and son coming from the UK to experience the race together. After being unable to participate last year due to travel restrictions, Israeli doctor Michael Gdalevich – who has been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic for the past two years – will finally be at the start. He will be accompanied by his wife on this adventure, as that’s the case for South Africans Tim and Louise Ferreira.

Finally, Frenchman Jeremy Mahot, a former Transalp 2021 finisher, will participate in Appenninica, riding with the aim of creating awareness about depression and raising funds for support programmes. A former jockey living in the UK, Mahot lost a friend during the lockdown due to a concussion that caused him severe depression, and he will participate in the Appenninica adventure with the aim of raising awareness on this issue.

Appenninica MTB Stage Race bolsters partners’ panel for 2022 edition

The fourth edition of the MTB stage race (September 4-10) shows a positive curve also in terms of number and quality of partners, including cycling brands as well as Made in Italy excellences

Since the first edition in 2019, the rise of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race has been for everyone to see, not only in technical terms, but also based on the number and stature of the partners joining the project, either from the bike industry and from the excellences of Emilia-Romagna. A virtuous trend that rewards the efforts of the ASD Happy Trail MTB organizing company, led by Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno.

For the 2022 edition, scheduled from 4 to 10 September, many established partners have remained on the side of the organizers, obviously starting with the strategic support Emilia-Romagna Region, given Appenninica’s crucial role in shining a light and promoting the active tourism opportunities in the Appennines in the summer period.

Cycling brand partners include Look, the renowned French brand, which is the official pedal of the event from 2021, and Komoot, the navigation and planning app for outdoor activities, which is the official race routing app. A recent addition to the Appenninica family, Enervit is the event’s new official nutrition partner.

Technical partner since 2020, Natali Sportwear will again dress the classification leaders. The Bologna-based bike accessories and spare parts brand Barbieri PNK has confirmed its confidence to the event to promote its NXT Tube inner tube, and Dutch wheel manufacturer 9th Wave Cycling will also be returning with its van and coffee station for all competitors. The mechanical assistance service will be delivered by Sport Bike Alicante, while bike lubricant manufacturer Squirt Cycling and Hibros Sport, producing creams, oils and warming and defatigue gels, also will show up at the race.

A race such as the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, that crosses an area rich in gastronomic excellence, must properly refuel the riders after each effort, in quality and quantity. Therefore, the organisers have teamed up with important food brands, including Barilla, which will supply the caravan with its best products for pasta parties at the end of the races.

According to tradition, the opening of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheel will not be missed, while the official water to rehydrate after the effort will be provided by Sem Group, one of the leading bottling operators in Italy. Thanks to the new partnership with Iren, a giant jug will be installed in Castelnovo ne’ Monti allowing bikers to fill their water bottles, while a smaller parallelepiped will provide water for the bike wash.

For those who prefer a different kind of hydration, the colourful stand of DeQuo Action Beer will return to Appenninica with its beer designed for sportsmen and women for quick energy recovery. Thanks to a partnership with Coop Alleanza 3.0, biological products from the Vivi Verde range will also be available. GSI Casa Modena Salumi also associates its name with Appenninica, offering participants the unique flavours of its products as well as the production experience handed down from generation to generation, combining tradition and innovation.