With 150 riders from all continents, the Appenninica challenge goes global

In July 2019, the world of mountain bike stage races welcomed a new event in Italy – a challenging race nestled in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, a wild territory relatively unexplored by mountain biking enthusiasts. The declared goal was to unveil a different side of the Apennines to both national and, particularly, international audiences – similar to the most significant off-road stage events, from the Cape Epic downwards.

As it approaches its fifth edition, Appenninica MTB Stage Race has won its bet. Year after year, the number of participants has grown, luring an international contingent and athletes from various countries to take part in the stage race through the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, drawn by the opportunity to discover enchanting landscapes and test themselves on high-level technical MTB routes.

The Appenninica MTB Stage Race is set to continue along the same path, evident from the sold-out status reached two months before the official start. A total of 150 athletes from 24 Nations, representing 6 continents, will be at the starting line. Organized by ASD Happy Trail MTB, the race will cover over 400 km and 14,000 meters of elevation across six stages – from the departure in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (RE) to the arrival in Vidiciatico, a hamlet of Lizzano in Belvedere (BO).

The largest contingent comes from the Oranje team, with an impressive 33 athletes from the Netherlands. Following closely are Italians with 22 participants, and other nations with strong cycling traditions are also well represented: Belgium (19), Germany (9), the United Kingdom (8), the United States (7), and Denmark (6).

However, the fame of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race has reached far and wide, with athletes from GuatemalaSouth AfricaIsraelArgentinaCanada, and Australia also taking their places at the starting line of the next edition. This achievement certifies that the trails of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines are becoming increasingly attractive in the panorama of mountain bike stage races.

“Once again this year, the figures confirm the international nature of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, with participants coming from all over the world,” state Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno, co-organizers of the event. “New Nations join us every year, while others expand their presence, and we are also very pleased to have a substantial group of Italian athletes at the start.



From September 4th to 9th, alongside the stage race, a new project called Appenninica Teen Camp will also take place. This initiative is intended to involve young adolescents in an international and competitive sports environment characterized by the typical sports solidarity of stage races. A group of youngsters will experience the Appenninica MTB Stage Race from the inside, sleeping in tents supplied by Decathlon Italia, a sponsor of the initiative.

Every day, the young participants will wear different jerseys made by Respect Me, featuring awareness messages in support of cyclist safety. The Appenninica Teen Camp will provide an opportunity for them to engage in volunteer work, interact with formidable athletes and riders pushing their limits, while assisting the organization and providing support to everyone within the friendly atmosphere that characterizes the race.

The Appenninici – Lillo Lenzi, in love with the Apennines

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race are many stories of sports and life. Lillo Lenzi, who took part in the 2023 edition at the age of 70, fulfilled his ambition to complete the adventure on the trails of Emilia-Romagna’s Apennines, which have been his home for many years

The Appenninici – From rugby to mountain biking: the unique journey of Sophie Halhead

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race many stories of sport and life can be found. Sophie Halhead, who made her second experience in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines in 2023 after taking part in the debut edition, recounts her transition from rugby to the world of mountain biking.

Third time’s the charm: Hans Becking returns to Appenninica for the hat trick

First Elite Man to win two editions of Appenninica MTB Stage Race, the Dutch defending champion of BUFF-Megamo will go for the hat trick from September 2 to 7, 2024. “This race has won my heart,” says Becking.

The Appenninica 2024 route: kicking off in Bologna with 14,000 meters of elevation gain

The organizers have unveiled the route for the MTB stage race, scheduled from September 2 to 7. Confirmed stage venues include Lizzano in Belvedere, Fiumalbo, and Castelnovo ne’ Monti for the grand finale, with Loiano making its debut this year. Participants will face a total of 400 km and 14,000 meters of elevation gain

The Appenninici – An Olympic champion discovers Appenninica

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race are many stories of sport and life. Miguel Martinez, Mountain Biking gold medallist at Sydney 2000, participated in the 2023 edition and was impressed by the routes and landscapes of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines and the familiar atmosphere of the race

From Tour the France to the MTB: Appenninica 2024 to kick off in Bologna

The main town of Emilia-Romagna is poised to inaugurate the sixth edition of Appenninica MTB Stage Race on September 2, 2024. Bathed in the afterglow of the Tour de France’s visit in July, the MTB challenge is set to bring more cycling emotions to the city

Appenninica MTB Stage Race Adventure Returns from September 2 to 7, 2024

The renowned MTB stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines confirms its six-day format, announcing its schedule for the 2024 season. Early Bird registration commences on December 1

Becking and Piana conquer Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023

The Dutch rider of Buff-Megamo is the first male athlete to win two editions of Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Becking sealed the overall win by raising arms again in the last stage, followed by Tiago Ferreira and Tim Smeenge, who join him on the podium in second and third position respectively. Debora Piana takes the women’s GC, while Ilina triumphs again in Vidiciatico. “We are really proud of the athletes’ feedback” said the organizers

Happy day for DMT Racing Team in Vidiciatico. Becking and Piana keep the lead

Tiago Ferreira went all-in in the penultimate stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race from Fanano to Vidiciatico, trying to pursue the leader’s jersey, but Becking kept everything under control. Same plot in the women’s category, with Russian Kristina Ilina taking her second win and Piana in control

Appenninica’s colour is Orange: Smeenge and Becking the stars of stage 4

The Dutch MTB Marathon National champion raises hands in Fanano, while Becking increases his gap in the GC on Tiago Ferreira. Debora Piana keeps dominating and makes it three in a row. Tomorrow, September 8th, the penultimate stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023 runs from Fanano to Lizzano in Belvedere

Becking and Piana strenghten their lead in Fiumalbo

The two leaders got the second win at Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023. The Dutch rider of Buff-Megamo Team sprinted over Tiago Ferreira, while things are getting spicy for the bronze medal, with four riders fighting for the third position. In the women’s field, the Italian of Team Cingolani-Specialized secured the leader jersey with another success in Fiumalbo over Ilina. Tomorrow, September 7th, the peloton heads to Fanano

Ferreira and Piana tame the Mountain Queen Stage

The Portuguese athlete of DMT Racing Team answered back to Becking’s success in the opening stage, while Tronconi and Smeenge remain in contention behind them. Debora Piana took the win and the lead in the women’s category. Tomorrow, September 6th, marks the first-ever border crossing from Emilia-Romagna to Tuscany for the race, with the stage starting and finishing again in Fiumalbo