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”.
Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race 2020 will take place from July 19 to July 25, 2020 departing from Porretta Terme (BO) and arriving in the stunning location of BERTINELLI CASEIFICIO DELLA MUSICA – Noceto (PR) for an unforgettable Gran Finale.
We have already checked the 7 stages of the 2020 edition in the past weeks and it will cover approximately 460 km and a total of 16.000m of elevation gain along the line of the Alta Via dei Parchi on the watershed with Tuscany.
The terrain will be very varied on completely natural trails, except for the sections built inside the Cimone Bike Park and Calestano. The participants of the first edition called it “real mountain bike” and to find out what they meant, you will have to participate yourself.
What has changed since last year?
Compared to the first edition, in 2020 the sections on trails and singletracks will increase, with fewer paved roads and less forest roads. On each stage, roots, rocks, and uneven terrain will entertain you, will make you sweat and will force you to keep focused. A challenging race, for sure, but also a very fun one!
Compared to 2019 the race is more vigorous. The philosophy of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race is a return to old style mountain biking, more challenging and adventurous, and over natural and unpredictable terrain with epic distances.
There will be a QUEEN STAGE and another long stage, so there will be 2 of them with mileage over 100 kms. Another news is the stage of Fanano Monte Cimone, a completely new loop-stage for this Appenninica 2020, which will offer incomparable panoramas because you will ride along the ridge with views on both sides of the Apennines.
ONLY 4 RACE VILLAGES
Since Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race promises to be tough one, we have decided to include 4 loop stages after the longest ones, in order to allow the athletes to better recover and also to give them the chance to enjoy the warm welcoming of the hosting villages. Shorter stages, but with considerable technical difficulties. It will be a race course worthy of the most famous stage races in the world such as Cape Epic and Transalp.
The Race Village, in each stage, will be set up in small and medium urban centers scattered throughout the Apennines along the route or with deviations adequate to the logistic requirements of the race. The most important thing is that they await our arrival with open arms. Appenninica will make you discover the warm welcome of its territory and of the communities of the Emilia-Romagna’s Apennines, one of the most interesting emerging Italian destinations for sporting and outdoor holidays.
STAGE VILLAGES FOR APPENNINICA 2020
PORRETTA TERME – BO
FANANO – MO
CASTELNOVO NE’ MONTI – RE
BERTINELLI CASEIFICIO DELLA MUSICA / NOCETO – PR
There are all of the conditions for an exciting 2020 edition of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage.
Remember that the spots available are only 150 so register soon and you can do so here.
Stay tuned because over the next few weeks we will tell you everything about each single stage of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race 2020.
Let’s relive together the 8 stages that characterized the first edition of the stage race that rides along the Apennine crest of Emilia Romagna.
We had to wait a few days to tell what Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race was about because of all of the emotions we felt in 8 intense days of competition, and almost 12 months of pre-race, has accumulated inside and we wanted to hold on to those memories of such intense, tiring and satisfying days as those between 19 and 27 July 2019. The first edition of this stage race in the Emilia Romagna region is truly unforgettable.
Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race had a dual objective: to create a high-level Italian stage race and bring MTB enthusiasts, both foreign and Italian, to discover places not normally associated with MTB practice in Italy, places and trails that for technical features and beauty of the landscapes have nothing to envy to much more noble and … “crowded” destinations as Dolomites or Finale Ligure. All with the particular seasoning of unique hospitality and the delicious cuisine that only Emilia Romagna can offer.
The adventure of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race 2019 started on Saturday 20 July from Bologna with the prologue that largely followed the route of the opening stage of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. A new cycling race could not ask for anything more than sharing a few kilometers of track with the Corsa Rosa.
Sunny and warm, the ideal weather to grant participants a day of sport and to celebrate all together the debut of an event that wants to affirm itself as a future reference point for enthusiasts from all over Europe and…the world.
There were couples even from South Africa with the Garmin Team composed by Yolandi Du Toit and Ben Swanepoel, two experts of stage races.
Under the Bologna’s arcades, the race village came to life, the one that accompanied the participants’ efforts throughout all the race and always under the arcades began to highlight the excellent organizational machine made up of about 30 people.
The prologue was an uphill time trial of 9.7 km from the Stadio Dall’Ara in Bologna up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, to tackle one of the most popular classic cycling ascents of Emilia. The second part of the prologue was an off-road up and down, then a steep descent towards the city and back through the Portico del Meloncello till the finish line.
From this “aperitivo” it was clear that Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race 2019 would have been a tight challenge between the American Coulton Hartrich and the Austrian Lukas Kaufmann in the Solo and between the couple Buist / Bos and Jauner / Biffinger in the Couples. In the women’s field, the battle was announced between the French-Italian couple Menapace / Troesch and the English Hemming / Alexander.
It was hot in Bologna, but the ranking was also hot.
With the competitive spirit only lit by the prologue MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race moved from Bologna to Berceto, arriving in Castelnovo ne ’Monti, for the beginning of the stages online. On the menu there were 78 km and 2490 meters of elevation gain, the “1000 Lakes” because they passed along the banks of the Lagoni basins, Lake Ballano, Lake Verdarolo, Lake Scuro, Lake Squincio and Lake Paduli, all on ridges and forest roads, among the chestnut trees and the luxuriant Emilian nature, on the heights where the Parmigiano Reggiano di Montagna is produced, the one most suited to sportsmen. Long climbs, great landscapes, but also very high temperatures. The bikers suffered the heat, but found relief not only at the official feed zones offered by Ethic Sport, but also thanks to the many fountains encountered along the way. Stopping 10″ to cool down meant gaining 20″ in the following km.
A bit of inexperience in the marking of the route has left some competitors wandering. Problem immediately addressed and resolved, so much that from the second stage onwards there are no more route errors. Organizing a “first” also means this, learning to change your plans in progress.
The competitive side has confirmed the challenges of the Prologue even though among the SOLO the young Kauffman has taken the jersey from Hartrich and the Italian Lorenzo De Sanctis has started to show what he is made of. In the TEAMs Meyer / Seifried put the turbo and dominate the stage, leaving only the crumbs to Buist / Bos. Very tight challenge in the women’s field with the English Hemming / Alexander who cross the finish line first and approach the Menapace / Troesch leaders.
The second stage was the longest, 101 km and 3700 meters in altitude, the only three-digit fraction of 2019, a real Marathon. The stage that has perhaps given the most beautiful images of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race when bikers have passed into the shadow of the mysterious Pietra di Bismantova, the imposing rock formation that is one of the symbols of the region. Departure from Castelnovo ne ’Monti and arrival to Fanano, perhaps the most beautiful stage from the point of view of the biker because in addition to the stunning panoramas one pedaled on fast and fun single trails where those who had the energy really made the difference. In the last kilometers, we climbed up to the top of Monte Cimone to then “glide” on Fanano along the hilarious bike park trails, all to make the child happy hidden inside each of the racing bikers.
Upon arrival, the faces were worn out, but the smiles were visible between the dust and the sweat. Despite the fatigue of the Appenninica course, the race was making inroads into the hearts of the participants.
It is often said that the explosiveness is of the young and the endurance of the old … in the longest stage of the race the young Kauffman has, instead, demonstrated the contrary going to win in a sprint finish on the American Hartrich with “our” De Sanctis third. Meyer / Seifried control their advantage among the men’s teams, while the Menapace / Troesch pair puts the turbo and taking advantage of the experience in the races on the very long distance of both bikers, distance more than 20 minutes the direct rivals Hemming / Alexander.
If the second stage was the longest and most enjoyable to drive, the third certainly was the most spectacular landscape. 51 km for 1850 meters in altitude (a walk compared to the day before) all entirely along the Apennine ridge from Fanano to Porretta Terme. Those who thought they were coming to the Apennines to find “sweet trails” had to change their minds and put their technical skills to the test. The bikers have faced exposed stretches and rocky passages on high mountain paths on a ridge where the panorama is so vast that the eye can reach the two coastlines of the Italian peninsula. The Strofinatoio Pass has perhaps given the maximum ecstasy regarding the panoramas. Portage was not lacking, all to make a “short” stage absolutely spectacular and unforgettable. The arrival in Porretta Terme, with the town hall square dressed up for the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race was something unique, an atmosphere that only the small towns of the Emilian Apennines can deliver.
The ranking did not tell anything new, with the Austrian Kaufmann increasingly dominant undisputed of the race, winner also today with almost 10′ of advantage on a splendid Lorenzo De Sanctis, with Matteo Dellabiancia in third place among the SOLO. Team leaders Meyer / Seifried held the spot but suffered after a slow start that forced them to reassemble in the final. Only 3’’ divided the two female couples, with the English women in front of Menapace / Troesch; the challenge became really incandescent.
The arrival in Porretta Terme marked the turning point of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, but also the beginning of Appenninica4, or the 4-day race that was going to be added to the queen test of 8 segments.
To leave the bikers some breathing space and start Appenninica4 as tradition demands, the fourth stage was a time trial to Monte Piella, again arriving in Porretta. Only 24 km and 1000 meters in altitude, but practically all concentrated in the first 15km. A long climb first through the fields and then into the woods, with the tall trees of the Apennines making a natural screen against the heat of the Porrettana summer. Once on top, a fun and technical descent entertained the bikers with narrow passages and hairpin bends. An ice cream offered to all the participants was the best news at the finish line and one that widened the smile of those who were part of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race.
As had happened in the Bologna prologue, once again the time trial was dominated by Coultron Hartrich who managed to nibble at the young Kaufmann, still firmly leader of the standings, third once again De Sanctis, now subscribed to the lowest step of the podium. Among the TEAMs a return to the victory for Buist / Bos in the time trial and Menapace / Troesch ranking first again among women. Appenninica4 opens with the victory of the Dutchman Casper Van Oosten.
Each race has a more difficult day than the others and for the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race was definitely the 5th stage. Due to bad weather a few weeks before the start of the race the organizers had to make changes to the course, especially to ensure the safety of the participants. Therefore from Porretta Terme a bus transfer was arranged to Santa Sofia, delaying the start of the stage at 12.30. Unfortunately, this fifth stage of 53 km and 2055 meters of altitude landed on the hottest day of the week. The bikers had really suffered so much; fortunately, the organization has increased the refreshment points and constantly brought the bikers water through the two doctors on motorcycles who followed the race every day.
A spectacular course, characterized by two long climbs that opened onto immense panoramas, technical descents that were also fast and fun and that several times forced riders to hard breaking testing their brakes to the limit.
The last kilometers along the Bidente river were as beautiful as they were hard because of the continuous changes of pace imposed by the terrain, but crossing the finish line and jumping right into the water to cool off and regain strength was priceless. The hardest stage physically and psychologically, but the one that makes you say you are a real man – or woman – for stage races.
No surprises in the standings with Kaufmann, Hartrich and De Sanctis in the order, new entry instead to win among the SOLO4 Matteo Bravvacini, while the Dutch Buist / Bos resume the leadership among the TEAMs after the withdrawing of Meyer / Seifried due to an injury; in the women’s field victory and Menapace / Troesch extension.
You could almost smell the scent of the end from Santa Sofia. There were those who had been competing for a week and could be recognized by their faces and legs, and those who arrived boldly at breakfast. You understood it immediately who was one of Appenninica4, all of the others were a little more silent, they still had a great desire to ride, but slowed down the movements to try not to waste energy unnecessarily (or they were simply tired). There were 2 stages to the end and the goal was to reach Bagno di Romagna.
The penultimate stage was a transfer from Santa Sofia to Bagno di Romagna, 55 km and 2100 meters in altitude. We climbed along wide forest roads where the wheels rolled fast and the legs turned with them in unison. You hardly felt the kilometers passing and the pleasant shade of the trees transformed the race into a pleasant stroll, even when your heart beats went well beyond the threshold. Once in Poggio alla Lastra, a beautiful technical part began, followed by the ancient Decauville railway for the processing of wood for the Dome of Florence and to reach the heart of the Casentinese Forest. A last, a very hard uphill on a ‘via Crucis’ drained the last drop of energy from the bikers, but passing through the streets dressed up for the party in Bagno di Romagna and to see the finish line, which the day after would have represented the success and crowning of a dream, filled the legs with fresh energy and hearts with joy again. Little, very little was needed to conquer the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race.
Classifications unchanged and positions consolidated among the SOLO, the TEAM men and SOLO4, while the challenge between the Women remained really open with the English that won the stage and shortened on the Italian-French couple. Fireworks finish for them.
Saturday morning. On the last day of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, inside the race village where the participants slept there was a strange atmosphere, a mix of happiness and melancholy. The next day everyone would have finally slept in their beds, comfortable and pampered, but there would no longer be the thrill of sharing their own path with people that once strangers now became best friends.
There were 33km missing at the end of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race. A loop of 16 km above Bagno di Romagna to be repeated twice. An old-style Cross Country course, long climb and sometimes technical with a super fun descent that winked at those who loved to let go of the brakes and were not afraid to get into the rocks.
It was a party. All competed to get ahead of the opponents, but we already knew everyone would hug and thank and congratulate all participants after the finish line. Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano was over, the overall standings dominated by Lukas Kaufmann followed by the American Coulton Hartrich and Lorenzo De Sanctis. Team Maurits Buist and Henk Bos closed with their arms raised, while the Women Team Lorenza Menapace and Daniele Troesch, despite the second position in the last stage, kept the lead and graduated winners of this first edition.
Appenninica4 was an Italian affair with Matteo Bravvacini who imposed himself over the Dutch Van Oosten.
Eight days later in Emilia Romagna everything was back to being a little quieter. There were no more bikers who pushed to their maximum limits along the ridge of these fantastic Apennines, too often snubbed by MTB enthusiasts because they were considered “easy” and “low” compared to the older sisters, the Alps. We are, however, sure that whoever took part in the first edition of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race is now back home, wherever that is, with a different idea and above all the desire to come back on July 19 at the start of the 2020 edition. Registration from October 1st and number closed to 150 riders.
Naomi Freireich, British national champion 24h Solo, and Scott Cornish will be one of the couples to beat in the Mixed category at the Appenninica MTB.
Just over a month at the start of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race and as the wait rises, international teams entries begin to arrive, teams that will surely be in contention for the category win.
Among these is the Gore Bike Media Team composed of Naomi Freireich and Scott Cornish. An English duo specializing in long distance and ultra distance races, just think that Freireich graduated British 24H Solo National Champion as well as European 24HR Solo Champion, while Cornish, a physiotherapist and professional trainer, we can say that never goes out biking except to do at least 6 consecutive hours, in short…. a true ultra-biker.
We asked Naomi and Scott what attracted them to race Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race.
“I love trying new events. The early adopter in me likes to be the first to do something”, answered Naomi. “I rode Glacier 360 in Iceland in the first year it was run and really enjoyed that personal feeling of involvement in the race and the knowledge I was supporting something new. I’m excited to be riding in the Apennine Mountains. Having ridden and raced in the northern Ligurian Alps I know just how spectacular the trails can be in Italy and I look forward to expanding my knowledge of them and the surrounding area. The Alps are well known for riding but I know that there are gems to be discovered in these less visited places. This is a perfect way to explore Italy’s countryside and discover trails that are otherwise less well known.
“The adventure of exploring new areas to ride has always been one of my underlying reasons for riding bikes”, Scott added. “I am excited by the opportunity to race in the Apennine range. It may not boast the 3000m peaks of the Dolomites but from what I have seen the riding will be fun, fast and no less exhilarating. New experiences, a host of exciting new trails to ride, fabulous Italian hospitality food and coffee, tough competition out on the trail but sharing stories and laughter at the end of each day over dinner”.
Naomi Freireich and Scott Cornish will be at the start of Apenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race from 20 to 27 July 2019 in the Mixed category. Follow their stories from the race on MarathonMTB.com and Proper Adventure magazine.
Squirt Cycling Products is the official chain lubricant partner of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race.
Achieving your goal at a mountain bike race is as much about training hard, using the best equipment, getting your nutrition dialed in, and hopefully riding your dream bike, right? Yes, but that’s not all.
On a 7-day MTB stage race, as in the format of the Appenninica, you need to make sure your bike is clean and lubed properly every day. The chain and drivetrain are typically the dirtiest parts of your bike and if you don’t use the right lube, well, your bike performance will be impacted and, let’s face it, you will hate yourself when your chain comes off or brakes at a critical point during the race.
That’s why we are happy to partner with Squirt Cycling Products, a South African company. Their liquid lubricant has unique properties that make it ideal for use in any cycling condition. Squirt lube is a wax base, long lasting dry lube that does not contain harmful solvents, is 100% biodegradable and environmentally friendly. They also produce a concentrated biodegradable bike cleaner, a puncture sealant, and a long-lasting application for skin protection on endurance events.
Whichever is your ambition, know that Squirt products are tried, tested and trusted by the biggest names in the world of mountain biking such as Julien Absalon, Rudi Van Houts, Bart Brentjens, Alan Hatherly, Robyn de Groot, Ariane Luthi, and Mariske Strauss, Stefan Garlicki, Bradley Weiss or Johann Potgieter.
Squirt is involved in a number of activities to promote cycling, adventure racing, running and multi-sport around the world. They strive to produce products that are thoroughly tested and accepted by the cycling world as functional and of high quality.