There are places destined to break into people’s hearts and stick there. Experiences you are looking to relive as soon and as much as possible, because after all, they feel like home to you. Maybe it’s because of the family atmosphere among the Appenninica MTB Stage Race competitors or the beauty of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, but there are more and more athletes returning every year to take the start of the “Italian Cape Epic”.
Among them, from September 4 to 9, 2023, will be last year’s winners, Diego Arias and Naima Diesner. Both dominated Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2022, winning several stages and securing a commanding lead already early on; both will return this year to confirm themselves and relive the sweet memories that this stage race has left fixed in their minds.
“Appenninica MTB Stage Race is a challenging race, – says Naima Diesner, also the winner of the 2021 edition, – set in beautiful places and with a superb organization. Like a little kid looking forward to Christmas at the start of the year, I am already excited for Appenninica 2023 and to catch up with riders, staff and friends, I met”.
“Last year, I had a lot of fun, even though I had to work hard for it. It is a race that I am recommending to other athletes because it is a special test, with varied and fun trails”, said the Hubbers-Polimedical Colombian, Marathon vice-World Champion in 2021.
Last year, the Colombian not only won the final classification but also took five stage victories, proving to be comfortable on the routes of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines. This year he will be at the start knowing part of the route already, and being able to manage the effort over one less day of racing, according to the new format proposed by the organizers.
“With my team, we always set out to win, even though our opponents never make it easy on us. Knowing the area better will definitely help me to manage myself better, but I also know the participants’ level will grow further. The format with six stages instead of seven will help the amateurs, and their desire to live their experience at the fullest. However, it will also be one less day of effort for me, which will mean managing my energy differently”, analyses Arias.
The Queen of Appenninica 2021 and 2022 is also looking forward to testing the new format.
“It will be nice to witness the adaptation of the race format first-hand. Six days of racing is still a long time, and I imagine the tracks to be of high quality „epicness“. But let’s be honest: I am so in love with the Appenninica Stage Race, I would probably also line up if you double the race days”, said Naima Diesner.
Regarding her ambitious goals, the German rider will look to approach things differently.
“I’ll do my best riding and hopefully contribute to an exciting race. However, the beauty of stage racing lies in its various aspects that may challenge you along the track and at the end of the day, I hope to reach the finish line exhausted but with a big smile on my face”, says Diesner.
The same smile that will be on the faces of Diego Arias and Naima Diesner as they return to Appenninica MTB Stage Race.