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.”
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
The 2016 XCM World Champion will be at the start of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race (September 27th – October 3rd) with the DMT Racing Team by Andrea Marconi, which will also line up another remarkable biker in Dutch Hans Becking
Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race 2020 is ready to welcome the big names of the international mountain bike scene. The DMT Racing Team by Andrea Marconi riders were the latest to accept the challenge of the Emilian Apennines, taking place from September 27th to October 3rd. Lining up in Porretta Terme (Bologna) will be former World Champion Tiago Ferreira and another established international rider like Hans Becking.
Born in 1988, Portuguese Ferreira jumped to the headlines a few weeks ago, when he managed to break the record of “double Everesting”, exceeding 18 thousand meters of elevation gain on his bike in 24 hours. Now he should, therefore, be ready for the 16 thousand meters of elevation gain of the Appenninica’s course. However, this was only the latest feat of a career full of success, such as the XCM World Title in 2016 in Laissac, France, making him the only Portuguese World Champion in cycling together other than Rui Costa in the 2013 Road Race. Ferreira was also crowned European Champion twice, in Svit (Slovakia), 2017, and Kvam (Norway), 2019. In addition to these triumphs, several World Cup victories make him one of the most successful active bikers.
“I am happy that somebody has finally decided to organize a MTB stage race in Italy – Andrea Marconi, owner of the DMT Racing Team, based in San Severino Marche (Macerata), explained -. We traveled the world, doing races of all kinds, and I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a race like this in our Country. Therefore, our participation is an investment in this discipline, hoping that Italians can discover it and get closer and closer to MTB. The Apennines are still quite unexplored by the bike world, and we always like to discover, which is why we wanted to support the enthusiasm and passion of these organizers”.
Even Becking’s curriculum is impressive, since he was Dutch National Champion in both Cross-Country and Marathon disciplines. Few bikers can say that they won in every corner of the world as the 1986-born biker did. Becking has won the Brasil Ride three times and the Epic Israel twice, in addition to the victory at La Leyenda del Dorado in Colombia and several successes between Spain and Portugal.
For both Ferreira and Becking, the Apennines represent a brand-new challenge: nevertheless, they will line up as two of the main favorites, even more after the success in Colina Triste, Spain, a few weeks ago, where they raced in pair. “I don’t expect an easy race: there will be many pitfalls, and there is no lack of talented opponents. Racing individually and not in pairs will allow us to have two cards to play. Overall it’s a tough race, even if our riders become stronger when the elevation gain increases,” Marconi concluded.