In the fourth edition of Appenninica (4-10 September 2022), the 104 Km and 3600 metres of elevation gain of the High Mountain Queen Stage’ from Castelnovo ne’ Monti to Fanano might be the turning point of the race on day 3, Tuesday, September 6th

With its 440 km and 16,000 metres of elevation gain spread over seven days (September 4th-10th, 2022), up and down the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, Appenninica MTB Stage Race poses plenty of challenges on the way of its participants. However, those who have already taken part in the spectacular Italian MTB stage race and those who dream of doing it soon know that there is always a day to be circled in red: the High Mountain Queen Stage.

The stage race scheduled in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines will reverse course this year, starting from Castelnovo ne’ Monti and ending in Lizzano in Belvedere, but the format will remain unchanged, with its unique mix of tough and exciting challenges, trails in the wilderness, and incomparable scenery. This year, the most challenging test will come on the third day, Tuesday, September 6th, 2022, when the Queen Stage of the 2022 edition is scheduled, starting from Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) and arriving in Fanano (Modena).

Compared to the past, the athletes will be fresher to tackle the 104 km and 3600 metres of elevation gain, but there will certainly be no shortage of thrills, starting with the spectacular views of a route almost entirely above 1,500 metres in altitude. A large part of the route follows the Alta via dei Parchi along ancient military mule tracks and trade routes such as the ancient via Vandelli, which connected Modena to Massa Carrara from the 18th century onwards.

At the start, there will be time for a final salute to the Bismantova Rock before crossing the Secchia river and beginning the first long ascent of the day (20 km and 1000 metres of elevation gain). A forest road will lead to the Cisa Pass and the “Alta Tensione” trail, eventually reaching the Monte Cusna area.

From Febbio, a new climb on forest roads will take the bikers to the summit of the Monte Giovarello (1760 m a.s.l.), from where, with favourable weather conditions, the entire Po Valley and beyond to the Tuscan coast can be seen. After reaching the Passo Radici, the route will go down in altitude, alternating forest roads and short single tracks up to the village of Pievepelago. Here the athletes will be able to catch their breath on the 10 km of asphalt road that will lead to Fiumalbo, where the climbing will start again.

A 10 km forest road and 1000 metres of altitude difference will take the athletes to Pian Cavallaro (1850 m a.s.l.) at the foot of Monte Cimone. There will only be 15 km left to the finish in Fanano, to be raced on pleasant forestry descents and short single-track sections. The first competitors will reach Piazza Corsini after 5 hours and 30 minutes: on such a day there’s nowhere to hide, and the general classification could be significantly reshaped.

“It is a Queen Stage in pure Appenninica style. The bikers will face ‘wild’ trails and unspoilt landscapes, on a selective – but also flowy – route that will cross some of the best-known areas of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, such as Monte Cusna and Monte Cimone”, explained Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi, the co-organizers of Appenninica MTB Stage Race.