Appenninica MTB Stage Race takes place over 7 consecutive days along the Apennine Mountains.

For 2021, the racecourse rolls from the high mountains on the province of Bologna (Corno alle Scale and Mount Cimone) and continues via high-mountain trails to Cerreto Laghi near Cerreto Pass (border with Tuscany), continuing to Castelnovo ne’ Monti in the province of Parma. 

Stay tuned as we publish the 7 stages at the beginning of March complete with descriptions and elevation charts. Each stage is announced in a sequence every 3 days on the Stages page but do follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for the previews.

The route follows, where possible, the MTB trail of the Alta Via dei Parchi straddling the watershed with Tuscany.

It includes the provinces of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia as well as National and Regional Parks along the Alta Via.

Map Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2021

The 150 riders will cover about 450 km for a total elevation gain of approximately 16.000 m. Only after crossing the finish line of the last kilometer can the participants wear the coveted finisher medal.

The Race Villages are set up in small and medium-size villages scattered along the route throughout the Apennines.  They will be very near the trails or at short distance to better serve the race logistics. What’s more important is that they are authentic and charming towns that are eager to host us. One of the goals of Appenninica is to afford visibility for the territory as an outdoor destination. 

At the moment, the following stage locations are confirmed:


The terrain is very varied and, with the exception of the trails created in the area of the Cimone Bike Park, is all natural trails, forest roads, and for some short connective sections secondary paved roads.

Past riders have called it “real mountain biking” and you’ll have to find out for yourselves what they meant. A full suspension bike is best suited for this course.

As indicated by the elevation gain, the course has steep sections both uphill and downhill but almost all of them rideable by trained athletes with good skills. It will be a course on par with the most famous ultra-endurance races in the world such as Cape Epic and TransAlp.

From a naturalistic point of view, the route crosses parks and forests, faces some river crossing, and runs along alpine-like lakes. The ridge trails are surrounded by spectacular mountain views. Century-old beech and chestnut forests will enchant you. We are committed to creating an event respectful of the environment that hosts it.

The average altitude is between 800 and 1.400 m with peaks at 1.800 m. We’ll start with a time trial that will serve as a short test for legs and equipment. The queen stage of  95 km is a true test of endurance and tactic and you will need to pace your effort well.  Stages two through five are at higher altitudes with parts on the legendary ridgeline trails on the Tyrrhenian-Adriatic watershed. Six and seven see lower altitudes and less sparse vegetation.

The route is ancient and has seen the Middle Ages, welcomed pilgrims, and the Partisan Resistance has used it during World War II. Fairies and gnomes could be right around the next tree.

Basically, we planned a route that is a postcard for the European mountain range best suited to outdoor activities: the Apennines. We then added some special ingredients that you only find here: extraordinary cuisine and warmth of the people without forgetting the atmosphere of conviviality for which Emilia Romagna is known and proud.

Go to the 2020 Video Story


Appenninica Low Impact

Particular attention will be given to mitigate the environmental impact of our passage in the region. A specific protocol “Appenninica Low Impact” will be drawn up with concrete actions before, during, and after the race. In addition to referring to the existing rules of the trail and the code of behavior IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association), the organizers of the Appenninica work with the representatives of the Parks in order to experience the territory with the least possible impact. In 2014, the organizers of the Appenninica along with ASD Happy Trail MTB have opened the Italian branch of IMBA. Since then IMBA Italy has trained hundreds of people on the importance of sustainable trails, techniques of creating and maintaining trails to limit erosion, respecting its natural characteristics, and mitigate conflicts with all users. We ask participants to respect the environment with all that entails.