From September 12th to 18th, Appenninica MTB Stage Race will take the best of MTB world to the Emilia-Romagna Apennines. Porretta Terme will host the great start, finale on the Bismantova Rock

Everything is set for the start of the third edition of Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Tomorrow, Sunday, September 12th, 2021, the MTB stage race on the paths of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines will take off from Porretta Terme. A route of 420 km and 16,000 metres of total elevation gain until the finale of Castelnovo ne’ Monti, Saturday, September 18th, when the  Bismantova Rock will be judging the best bikers in the world. In between, there will be seven very demanding and technical fractions that will touch five stage locations (together with the one mentioned before, there will be Lizzano in Belvedere, Fanano and Cerreto Laghi).

The Organising Committee led by Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi is aiming once again at a formula that combines a high competitive level with the adventurous spirit of a unique experience. Thanks also to the partnership with the Emilia-Romagna Region, Appenninica intends to become more and more a promotional event for the territory and tourism in the Apennines, communicating through sport the beauties of an area that is still little known.

The participants are of the highest level, with the athletes of the DMT Racing Team among the main favourites after last year’s double win. The Greek Ilias Periklis, 2012 Marathon World Champion will try to repeat what Hans Becking and Tiago Ferreira did in 2020. Among the 106 contestants, Milton Ramos is another man to watch out for, thanks to his knowledge of the race and the fact that he finished just outside the podium last year. The outsiders include American Gordon Wadsworth and Dutchman Bart Classens, who leads an “orange” patrol of 22 athletes.

In the women’s category, the 1993 born Evelyn Sulzer is favoured by the odds and will try to repeat the exploits of Esther Süss, who dominated in 2020. Among those who could challenge her, are Wadsworth’s American teammate Emily Hairfield and German Naima Diesner. On behalf of Italy, Virginia Cancellieri will try to reach the podium.


On Sunday, September 12th, 2021, Porretta Terme will host the Appenninica MTB Stage Race start with the “Porretta Soul” stage, a 45 km individual time trial (1,645 mt of elevation gain) dedicated to the Porretta Soul Festival. A symbol of Porretta Terme area, the Monte Cavallo climb will be immediately tackled by the riders while the stage will continue through the thick surrounding woodlands, enjoying high altitude views of the mountains and Reno valley.

The first real taste of Apennine ridge will be scheduled on Monday, September 13th with stage 2, 57 km and 2,340m of elevation gain from Porretta Terme to Lizzano in Belvedere. Named the “Corno”, the second stage’s protagonist is the Corno alle Scale mountain, with its wide and emotional views.

On Tuesday, September 14th, the Appenninica 2021 riders will move from Lizzano in Belvedere to Fanano with a very technical stage of 57km and 2,500m of elevation gain. The track goes continuously up and down through different terrains, with versatility required to be ready for any situation.

Designed by famous trail builder Pierpaolo “Pippo” Marani, the spectacular “Pippo Yeah” stage will return on Wednesday, September 15th. With a route of 50 km and 2,300m of elevation gain, one of the most appreciated stages of the 2020 edition will again show the beautiful landscapes around Fanano, entertaining the riders on the breathtaking single tack downhill to the town center.

From Fanano to Cerreto Laghi, the “High Mountain Queen Stage” scheduled on Thursday, September 16th, will be the real test bench for those who aspire to the Appenninica MTB Stage Race overall. The athletes will face 95km and 3,600m of elevation gain on a track wholly charted at high altitude, smooth and incredibly scenic.

After the great effort, on Friday, September 17th, the “Park&Roll” will move to Castelnovo ne’ Monti through a less challenging stage, 65km and 1,600m of elevation gain. After the first uphill part, the riders will go downhill through the trails of Cervarezza Bike Park from Lake Calamone, enjoying the Bismantova Rock view from afar.

On Saturday, September 18th, the epilogue is the “Purgatory” stage, dedicated to Dante Alighieri on the 700th anniversary of his death. The name of the stage says everything: to reach the “Paradise”, finishing (or even winning) the Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2021, the riders have to tame the Bismantova Rock, riding in the shadow of the mountain that inspired Dante’s Purgatory before tasting the glory at Castelnovo ne’ Monti.