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.”