In the final stage, Felix Fritzsch gained more terrain over Bart Classens, on his way to the overall victory. Elia Taverna won the final stage and earned the third step of the podium. Diesner finalized a dominating display to be crowned queen of Appenninica 2021
Credits: Francesco Narcisi / The Outdoor Lab
The test of the Bismantova Rock gave Felix Fritzsch the Men’s crown of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2021. Winner of the opening stage in Porretta Terme, the German completed the stage race on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines in first position, showing consistency and tactical acumen to beat Bart Classens in the GC by 8:09, responding to the Dutchman’s comeback after the High Mountain Queen Stage.
Fritzsch was not among the top favorites before the race, yet on Saturday, September 18th, 2021, on the finish line in Piazza Peretti in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, the German enriched his palmares, adding the Appenninica overall to the 2018 Rally di Romagna. The 32-year-old of the RSG 52 Stolbergteam completed the seven stages in 20:49:55, ahead of Dutch Bart Classens (second) and Elia Taverna, third at 37:22.
“I’m really happy for the final victory. The race was very hard and I’m tired but we rode in wonderful landscapes and the Apennines are stunning. I’m proud to have completed the race, that was my goal at the start, but it was a fantastic experience. Now that I won the leader jersey, I have to come back next year and defend it”, said Felix Fritzsch on the finish line.
After riding all week in the front positions, Elia Taverna finally achieved a stage victory on the final day, 50 km and 1600 metres of elevation gain. The Italian rider managed to win the final stage in 2:27:55, setting the pace with Fritzsch and Classens in the first part of race, until a flat tire forced the Dutchman out of the game. At the finish, Fritzsch gave Elia Taverna the green light to the stage win.
“Finally, I have got a stage victory. I’m happy of how I have been racing this week and I’m fully satisfied about my participation. I didn’t think I’d be such at the sharp end, and to win a stage, so it’s all very positive”, said Elia Taverna.
Credits: Juan J. Pestaña / The Outdoor Lab
NAIMA DIESNER’S CONQUERS APPENNINICA
An absolute protagonist of this edition, Naima Diesner’s attitude conquered the entire caravan of Appenninica. The German got another win at the shade of the Bismantova Rock in 2:51:57, ahead of Virginia Cancellieri by 7:21 and Evelyn Sulzer by 8:13. After the expected battles in the first stages, Diesner dominated the race starting from the High Mountain Queen Stage and winning four out of seven stages. In the overall standings, the Tuspo Weemde team rider finished Appenninica in 26:24:58, with an advantage of 59:37 on Virginia Cancellieri and 1:26:09 on Evelyn Sulzer.
“It was a fantastic experience. At Appenninica MTB Stage Race I found a wonderful atmosphere, the people welcomed me in an extraordinary way. This victory is also for those who couldn’t race it till the end due to some crashes or mechanical problems. I really enjoyed the race and I’d love to be back next year”, explained Naima Diesner.
Credits: Francesco Narcisi / The Outdoor Lab
APPENNINICA EYES FURTHER GROWTH IN 2022
At the end of the 2021 edition, the Appenninica MTB Stage Race organizers drew a positive wrap-up of the experience, looking forward to 2022 with new drive and confidence. The 106 athletes coming from 16 different Countries expressed positive comments towards the Emilia-Romagna Apennines stage race, where they fell in love with the atmosphere through the whole week.
“The feedback from the riders confirms that Appenninica belongs among the main mountain bike stage races in Europe. Many athletes felt at home while discovering unexpected landscapes among the Emilia-Romagna Apennines. The competition was tough, showing that the route gave nothing for granted and needed to be prepared in the best possible way. We lived an intense week full of emotions, thanks to the beautiful landscapes and the passion of the athletes. We are already looking forward to 2022 with the aim of growing further”, said the Appenninica organizers, Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi.
The final awarding ceremony in Piazza Peretti was attended by the Antonella Incerti, member of the Italian Parliament’s Agriculture Commission and representative of the Emilia-Romagna Region, the Public Works Councillor of Castelnovo ne’ Monti Giorgio Severi, and on behalf of the Coop Alleanza 3.0 Directors Board, Chiara Saccani. “I want to express a big thank you to the OC and to all athletes – said Antonella Incerti-. We are investing on the Apennines and on these areas that have a great potential. Appenninica is an important chance to showcase the territory in all his features, from landscapes to hospitality and cuisine”.
The Italian MTB race to take place from September 12th to 18th over seven stages, 450 km and 16.000 mt of elevation gain. Porretta Terme will host the departure, while the final stage in Castelnovo ne’ Monti will be a tribute to Dante’s Divina Commedia. Fanano, Lizzano in Belvedere and Cerreto Laghi are the other stage venues.
The Emilian Apennines might be covered in white these days, but it will not take too long before bikers from all over the World are back to test themselves over some of the most charming routes in Europe. After the successful 2020 edition, Appenninica MTB Stage Race‘s OC looks with confidence and enthusiasm to the 2021 edition, to take place in the final days of Summer, from September 12th to 18th, 2021.
A highly-demanding challenge over 450 kilometers and more than 16,000 meters in elevation gain will be tackled over seven stages, riding in the wild and unspoiled nature of the Emilian Natural Parks. With a unique landscape, the Apennine ridge will guarantee an immersion in the authentic Italian atmosphere and culture, enriched by the genuine hospitality of Emilia-Romagna.
In 2021, Appenninica will count on five different stage venues, located in three provinces: Bologna, Modena and Reggio Emilia.Lizzano in Belvedere (Bologna) and Cerreto Laghi (Reggio Emilia) are the new entries among the confirmed venues of Porretta Terme (Bologna), Fanano (Modena) and Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia). The 2021 Appenninica MTB Stage Race route will combine technical trails with scenic and smoother sections. The Appenninica course will also visit three different renowned Winter Sports resorts, now more and more committed towards the summer and outdoor sports offer: Corno alle Scale, Monte Cimone and Cerreto Laghi.
Photo by The Outdoor Lab
On Sunday, September 12th, Porretta Terme will host the first stage once again: an individual time trial, and also a tribute to the Porretta Soul Festival, one of the most renowned music events in the area. Also starting from Porretta, the second stage will offer a first taste of the real Apennines, passing by the Lake Scaffaiolo and climbing to the Corno alle Scale. Briefly trespassing into Tuscany, the stage will finish in Lizzano in Belvedere, the hometown of the late renowned Italian journalist and writer Enzo Biagi (1920-2007).
On Tuesday, September 14th, Lizzano will give the start to a brand-new third stage, ending in Fanano. The first part of the route will ride along the Gothic Line – the battlefield of the partisan liberation battles during World War II -, while the finale will take place on fast and fun trails inside the Cimone Bike Park.
The “Pippo Yeah!” stage, charted by famous trail builder Pippo Marani, will return after last year’s success on Wednesday, September 15th, starting and finishing in Fanano. On Thursday, September 16th, the Queen Stage will also start from the mountain town in the Province of Modena: following the 2020 Queen Stage route in the first section, the stage climbs up to the highest point of the race located on the Monte Cimone (1855 mt), on the way to reach the finish in Cerreto Laghi.
On Friday, September 17th, an entertaining stage, running entirely inside the Tuscan-Emilian National Park – awarded with the MaB Unesco for its extraordinary biodiversity -, will take the riders to Castelnovo ne’ Monti, the last stage venue of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2021. In fact, the race will be decided on Saturday, September 18th in the shadow of the iconic Bismantova Rock, the symbol of Appenninica. Named “Purgatory stage”, the last effort pays tribute to Italian poet Dante, and who – according to the legend – drew inspiration from the Bismantova Rock to create his purgatory, on the 700th anniversary of the Sommo Poeta’s passing. The loop course will pass through Fonti di Poiano, Gessi Triassici and the Grancontessa Matilde di Canossa’s territories.
Photo by The Outdoor Lab
“For the 2021 edition, we decided to stick with the same successful formula of last year, while seeking an even better balance between shorter, more technical stages and longer, faster ones. The evocative Appennine ridge will be a standout protagonist once again, and we will touch three ski resorts that are increasingly committed to mountain biking and summer tourism – something even more significant in times like these. We are happy to welcome the new stage locations of Lizzano in Belvedere and Cerreto Laghi, which will offer new beauties and scenarios to this great adventure” said the organizers Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi.
Stage 1 – Porretta Soul – Sunday, September 12th: Porretta Terme – Porretta Terme
Stage 2 – Il Corno – Monday, September 13th: Porretta Terme – Lizzano in Belvedere
Stage 3 – Gold Rush – Tuesday, September 14th: Lizzano in Belvedere – Fanano
Stage 5 – High Mountain Queen – Thursday, September 16th: Fanano – Cerreto Laghi
Stage 6 – Park & Roll – Friday, September 17th: Cerreto Laghi – Castelnovo ne’ Monti
Stage 7 – The Purgatory Saturday, September 18th: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Castelnovo ne’ Monti
HOW TO REGISTER
As in 2020, the organizing committee chose to allow only individual participation without the pairs format. In the “Early Bird” phase, until January 31st, a maximum of 55 athletes can register at a reduced price. From this season the organizers also offer a payment plan in three installments. For further information:https://www.appenninica-mtb.com/en/register/
With Appenninica’s trails riding through regional and national parks, in order to avoid the course’s overcrowding and provide the best possible experience, the organizers opted to set a maximum number of 150 registered athletes.
A loop course around the Giarola Court brought Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race to an end. Hans Becking won the Men’s event ahead of teammate Tiago Ferreira and Lorenzo Samparisi in third, with Dutchman Rob Van der Werf claiming the final stage ahead of Joseph De Poortere. Esther Süss completed her perfect week in the Women’s race
He tamed the Emilian Apennine’s trickiest trails, ruled over the ridges, and even cruised in the heavy mud. On Saturday, October 3rd, Hans Becking conquered the second edition of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, at the end of a week in which he proved the clear strongest among participants from all over Europe. The DMT Racing Team Dutchman saw off his fellow teammate, XCM European Champion Tiago Ferreira, and Lorenzo Samparisi (KTM Alchemist Dama).
Becking also claimed three stages in this Appenninica’s edition, in Porretta Terme, in Castelnovo ne’ Monti’s Queen Stage, and in Collecchio, leaving his closest rival over 20 minutes behind. “I am proud to add this race to my list of achievements,” Becking said. “I had so much fun. I found courses for real bikers, beautiful and technical. And what about the sights? Amazing. It was my first time in the Apennines; it won’t be the last.”
The 34-year-old Dutchman also seized the familiar atmosphere at Appenninica. “Big credit goes to the event’s staff, as people don’t realize how much effort there is behind such an event. I was able to realize it in full this week, and I wish to thank all the people of the staff.”
His teammate Ferreira echoed his feelings: after taking part in the biggest stage races in the World, he discovered the Apennine as a new frontier, a territory born for mountain biking: “It was real mountain biking every day here at Appenninica. We had no chance to get bored for a minute. It was a good experience, both the race and the typical Italian atmosphere that has welcomed us.” The Portuguese will now turn his attention to the XCM World Championships in Turkey in late October.
Samparisi stepped on the lowest step of the podium, after battling with the DMT Racing Team duo throughout the week: “I am very satisfied. I won a stage and was in contention in every other one. To be on this podium along with champions like Becking and Ferreira makes me proud.”
The final stage, a fast 32 km course inside the Carrega Woods, Collecchio, was won by Rob Van der Werf (Twe Het Snelle Viat). The Dutchman edged Frenchman Joseph De Poortere (Rockrider Decathlon) with Ferreira and Becking, in third and fourth place, respectively.
“There was no better way to clinch this experience – Van der Werf said -. I did not expect to win, but a short and fast course like this was perfectly suited for my characteristics. I will return home knowing to have discovered a new MTB heaven. I will be back here, for sure.”
ESTHER SÜSS MAKES THE EN-PLEIN
Esther Süss could hardly ask for more to this Appenninica: seven stage wins in seven stages. Even on a short and fast course like the one in the Carrega Woods, while preferring longer and more intense stages, the former XCM World Champion managed to beat all her rivals.
“I am happy to have won this final stage, the least suited to my characteristics,” the Swiss said. “I beat many younger athletes, which means my condition is very good. What did I like about the race? Everything! The trails, the sights, but also the human touch of the organizational team. I hope to be back soon.”
Italian Gaia Ravaioli (KTM Alchemist Dama) closed in second place, surrendering only to the strongest of rivals. “It was my first time in a stage race, and I learned a lot. I hope more and more participants can come to this race, also to reward the effort of these brave organizers that gave us a chance to race, even in this challenging year.”
THE HEART OF APPENNINICA
The second time of Appenninica came to a close in the Giarola Court, in Collecchio, with the awarding ceremonies and the final dinner with the World-famous tastes of Emilia-Romagna, starting with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Crowning the 2020 Appenninica winners were the Mountain Assessor of Emilia Romagna, Barbara Lori, the Parco dei Ducati President Agostino Maggiali, the majors of three hosting towns – Maristella Galli for Collecchio, Enrico Bini for Castelnovo ne’ Monti and Stefano Muzzarelli for Fanano, and the President of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium Nicola Bertinelli.
Only six months ago, organizing a sports event like Appenninica seemed impossible. The organizing Committee led by Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno opted to hold on and move the event from Summer to Fall: a daring choice, but one that definitely paid off.
“In a year like this, organizing the event was a major feat in itself – the organizers explained. “We have had plenty of great feedback, and that makes us proud. Appenninica’s mission is to share our passion for MTB and promote our territory, the Emilia’s Appennine, still unknown and unexplored by most bikers. We believe that our mountains have won the heart of all our participants, giving us confidence for the future and making us more ambitious for the future. We wish to thank the whole Appenninica staff, whose huge effort over long months helped us to achieve this remarkable goal.”
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.
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