Why and how did we come up with Appenninica?

We’ve told the story many times but it’s time to explain the genesis of Appenninica MTB Stage Race here.

Over the past 15 years we’ve raced in 4 continents and year after year, race after race we fell in love with mountain bike stage racing. Not the competition in itself, but the experience and the challenge. The feeling of achieving the “Finisher” title changes the way you cope with problems and setbacks in life and if you have been there, you know what we mean. 

Taking part in those races from South Africa, to Canada, to Mongolia, and Europe of course, were perfect excuses to travel with our friends and families and pushed us to stay fit. 

Briefing inaugural edition Appenninica

A briefing for one of the stages of the inaugural edition of Appenninica MTB

Then something clicked: “Our Apennines could be – we thought – a very good place for such a race and not very many riders know its trails”. There are several races on the Alps and on the Pyrenees but the Apennines – an important mountain range of its own – did not host any true MTB stage race. We knew the incredible network of trails was there and that the “Italian divide” offered some unique ridgeline trails like we’ve not found anywhere in the World. 

We put our skills to work (we know events but that was a different animal), we rallied the team – Happy Trail MTB, our cycling club, provided the core team but we’ve gotten lots of great external help – and we started pitching the idea here and there. I can say that we were motivated and optimistic but we had to overcome, and we still do, challenges after challenges coming at us from every angle: weather, permits, money to name a few. We are still writing the story of Appenninica but let me just say that there’s been an equal mix of encouragement and skepticism. 

We’ll leave it at this: all of the work, the sleepless nights, and worries are worth it. 

If you want, it’s a classic story of having a dream and making it come true with drive and lots of patience. 

In a nutshell, Appenninica was started to share this part of Italy with the – great – mountain bike stage racing community and maybe to prove that the Apennines of Emilia Romagna could have hosted a top-level stage race. 

What’s in the name? Appenninica is an adjective loosely meaning coming from or made in the Apennines, or “made in Appennino” if you wish. 

EthicSport Official Sport Nutrition Partner

EthicSport is the Official Sport Nutrition Partner of Appenninica MTB Stage Race

An endurance race must be sustained not only by an adequate physical condition but also by optimal nutrition and food supplementation. Nothing can be left to chance because months of training can be thwarted without a plan on how to best meet your energy, hydration and recovery needs.

Appenninica MTB Stage Race presents a tough course with a Queen Stage (after 5 stages in the legs) of an incredible 112 km and over 4000 meters in elevation gain.

The format of the race – the first of its kind along the Apennines – includes 7 stages preceded by a prologue while the Appenninica4 version includes 4 stages. As you can imagine the recovery after each stage will be crucial.
How to fuel so not to compromise the result or even having to give up without more energy to spend?

Thanks to an important partnership the participants in Appenninica MTB Stage Race can count on the support – both in the preparation and during the race – of EthicSport, an Italian company (with its headquarters in Emilia Romagna), which is leader in sports nutrition in particular for endurance sports.
The credo of the company, appreciated and chosen by many top teams and athletes, is the uncompromising quality aimed at meeting the fueling needs of amateurs and professionals. Italian champions Samuele Porro and Mara Fumagalli, and European champion Alexey Medvedev are just some of the MTB stars who have been relying on EthicSport for their sport nutrition for years. Lorenza Menapace, fresh dominator of the Trans Andes Challenge and confirmed at the start-line of Appenninica, is also an EthicSport athlete.

All products are not only effective but very digestible and with a great flavor.

Informative content pieces prepared by the EthicSport experts on nutrition and food supplements and a specific stage-by-stage integration program, will be published on the Appenninica website and the EthicSport experts will be available to create customized sport nutrition programs and to answer riders’ questions.

During the week of the race, there will be products – in the form of drinks, gels and energy bars – available at the start of the stages and along the feed zones along the route.

Furthermore, the recovery zone EthicSport will be positioned right next to the finish line. Appenninica organizers will also have beverages and a warm carbo-protein dish at the end of each stage.

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Appenninica is announcing the SOLO format in addition to the Team of two format.

“While we believe that the best way to experience a MTB stage race such as Appenninica is by participating as a team, we’ve got to recognize that there are several reasons that make the SOLO category a viable option.” Beppe Salerno – race co-organizer

MTB Stage racing has evolved and grown. The classic team of two formula is no longer the status quo and it’s emblematic that for the first time Transalp has opened to single riders. Several “newer” races were started and strived without following the team of two format.

Many riders perceive a MTB adventure as a single-rider endeavor and that comes down to personality, personal goals, and awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses.

“As racers ourselves, we know that finding the right teammate is crucial but that’s not simple because of logistics (time off for the race and time for training), character, and shared goals.” Milena Bettocchi – race co-organizer

On January 9th Appenninica opens registration to SOLO riders with the following two categories:
– Man SOLO
– Woman SOLO

Race rules are being updated to reflect that.

If the announcement was somehow in the air the biggest news of 2019 is another one: Appenninica4 MTB Stage Race.

It’s possible for SOLO riders to be part of Appenninica, but on a smaller scale. From Wednesday July the 24th through Saturday July the 27th riders can race the second part of Appenninica and therefore the following stages:

July 24 – Porretta Terme: La Cronoscalata del Monte Piella (time trial)
Length 23 km – Elevation gain 830 m

July 25 – Porretta Terme – Castel del Rio: La Linea Gotica
Length 90km – Elevation gain 2300 m

July 26 – Castel del Rio – Bagno di Romagna: Queen Stage
Length 112 km – Elevation gain 4000 m

July 27 – Bagno di Romagna – Bagno di Romagna: La Tecnica
Length 40 km – Elevation gain 1650 m

Full race (prologue + 7 stages): Euro 1.450
Appenninica4 (4 stages): Euro 725

Before Sunday January 27th entries:
Full race (prologue + 7 stages): Euro 1.050
Appenninica4 (4 stages): Euro 525


Finishers of the Appenninica4 will receive a dedicated Finisher t-shirt.


BARBIERI PNK is the new partner Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

BARBIERI PNK, already supporter of two Appenninica teams at the 2018 Cape Epic, will sponsor the Appenninica MTB 2019 bike parks in the Race Villages, which therefore will be named “Barbieri PNK bike park“.
The goal of this operation is to communicate how the Bologna-based company BARBIERI PNK pays attention to the care and maintenance of the bike.
The BARBIERI PNK established by Mr. Adriano Barbieri, became famous with the invention of the chain cleaner in 1983. This tool, simple and brilliant at the same time, has revolutionized the way to clean the chain and together with other innovative products, as well as the distribution of important brands, have allowed Barbieri PNK to become a leader in “bicycle accessories” industry.


We are happy to announce Marconi Collection as the new partner of Appenninica MTB 2019!

Colors, design, quality and style are distinctive elements of the Marconi Collection brand whose products are now highly sought-after and appreciated by athletes all over the world.
Marconi Collection socks are practically a cult object Made in Italy.

We could never let you leave Appenninica MTB without a nice pair of Marconi Collection socks on your feet so be prepared for your choice 😉