Team or Solo?

MTB stage races used to suit few athletes, their settings were wild and usually remote, and the organizers often relied on the adventurousness of the participants and on their own luck. Over the time, mountain bike competitions on long distances and over many days have been evolving, with few exceptions of some hard-core races.

The long established races can be counted on the fingers of one hand: Transalp, TransRockies, Iron Bike and the most recent one but also undisputed queen Cape Epic. Over the last 10 years a bunch of new races have born, some of them shorter and faster. Besides distance and number of stages, no-one has yet figured out one of the organizers’ most challenging dilemma: two people team or SOLO.

Team DMT Marconi Ferreira Becking

Tiago Ferreira and Hans Backing of DMT Marconi (second and first in 2020)

The team formula adopted in the first races was based on safety reasons. In case of any issue or accident one of the team mates would be able to take care of first aid or call the rescue team. Again, and I witnessed it, some races take place in remote and wild environment, incredibly stunning but difficult to access in case of accident. Thus the team would give the best guarantee of safety. Not to mention the wonderful chance to share a magnificent experience with the right mate. At the opposite pole, a non close-knit team turns the race into a nightmare one can’t wait to cut short.

From a rider:

I love that Appenninica is raced as individuals rather than teams of two+. This way I am responsible for my fitness and ability rather than waiting for, or holding-back another rider.

GPS technology gave us trackers that allow the organizers and the supporters to follow an athlete on the tracks but most importantly to call for help and rescue just pushing the SOS button.

The calendar is actually offering races with team formula and SOLO formula. Which one is better?

We like the team formula a lot but it comes with some problems for the participants who need to find the soul team mate with the same athletic ability, same availability of time for training and for the race week, same budget. It’s a stressful and complicated jig-saw. Long term and tight-knit teams are lucky.

The SOLO formula is smoother. You decide, enroll, only your ability counts and you decide your own tactic. As Gordon Wadworth puts it “The solo effort is tremendously pure”.

The GPS tracker, when provided by the organizers – Appenninica is among them – grants your safety. Last but not least, nothing forbids two friends to stay close and ride together.

What about the Elite Team?

The Elite teams base their decisions not on the format but on UCI points, prize-pool, etc. They aim to win and get on the podium and thus I think they will organize themselves with captains and wingmen ready to help in case they have problems.

The Appenninici – Lillo Lenzi, in love with the Apennines

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

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

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race many stories of sport and life can be found. Sophie Halhead, who made her second experience in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines in 2023 after taking part in the debut edition, recounts her transition from rugby to the world of mountain biking.

Third time’s the charm: Hans Becking returns to Appenninica for the hat trick

First Elite Man to win two editions of Appenninica MTB Stage Race, the Dutch defending champion of BUFF-Megamo will go for the hat trick from September 2 to 7, 2024. “This race has won my heart,” says Becking.

The Appenninica 2024 route: kicking off in Bologna with 14,000 meters of elevation gain

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

The Appenninici – An Olympic champion discovers Appenninica

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

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

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

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

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

Becking and Piana conquer Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023

The Dutch rider of Buff-Megamo is the first male athlete to win two editions of Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Becking sealed the overall win by raising arms again in the last stage, followed by Tiago Ferreira and Tim Smeenge, who join him on the podium in second and third position respectively. Debora Piana takes the women’s GC, while Ilina triumphs again in Vidiciatico. “We are really proud of the athletes’ feedback” said the organizers

Happy day for DMT Racing Team in Vidiciatico. Becking and Piana keep the lead

Tiago Ferreira went all-in in the penultimate stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race from Fanano to Vidiciatico, trying to pursue the leader’s jersey, but Becking kept everything under control. Same plot in the women’s category, with Russian Kristina Ilina taking her second win and Piana in control

Appenninica’s colour is Orange: Smeenge and Becking the stars of stage 4

The Dutch MTB Marathon National champion raises hands in Fanano, while Becking increases his gap in the GC on Tiago Ferreira. Debora Piana keeps dominating and makes it three in a row. Tomorrow, September 8th, the penultimate stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023 runs from Fanano to Lizzano in Belvedere

Becking and Piana strenghten their lead in Fiumalbo

The two leaders got the second win at Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023. The Dutch rider of Buff-Megamo Team sprinted over Tiago Ferreira, while things are getting spicy for the bronze medal, with four riders fighting for the third position. In the women’s field, the Italian of Team Cingolani-Specialized secured the leader jersey with another success in Fiumalbo over Ilina. Tomorrow, September 7th, the peloton heads to Fanano

Ferreira and Piana tame the Mountain Queen Stage

The Portuguese athlete of DMT Racing Team answered back to Becking’s success in the opening stage, while Tronconi and Smeenge remain in contention behind them. Debora Piana took the win and the lead in the women’s category. Tomorrow, September 6th, marks the first-ever border crossing from Emilia-Romagna to Tuscany for the race, with the stage starting and finishing again in Fiumalbo