2021 Stages are going to be released in March. 2021 racecourse description is here.

For reference, the 2020 Stages are listed below. 

What follows is a preview of the elevation profiles and stage descriptions to prepare you for how demanding the race will be.

A quick word about this info:

  • The charts that follow are preliminary and are subject to change.
  • The plan for the race course is almost complete but it could still be refined. The exact race course of the Appenninica will be finalized after the winter season, as some sections of the terrain can shift and change during that time.
  • In the springtime after the snow melts the Apennine of Emilia Romagna blooms again and comes to life, rainfall diminishes, and the land adjusts. During that season we will thoroughly revise all trails and forest roads that we’ve previously selected. Therefore, for the final version of the stages and the official publication, you will have to wait until we verify actual conditions, possible re-routing, and maintenance needs, if any. 
  • We’ve carefully selected trails with an eye to the past edition’s average speeds and estimated times to complete the stages.

We’ve planned everything with the goal of offering a tough week of mountain bike stage racing without compromising the enjoyment factor of riding great trails that are part of an incredibly beautiful natural landscape.

We have sounder logistics – compared with last year – with fewer stage location changes and that will benefit the riders with less stress in preparing a stage, more time to recover, and a better chance to get to know and explore the villages where the race villages are hosted.

In the meantime, prepare yourselves for a tough race with considerably mixed terrain, with a constant sequence of ups and downs that will test your endurance, but with just as many fun and adrenaline-filled downhills.

For a description of 2020 stages go to the Rider Guide


Stage 1 – Monte Cavallo
Sunday September 27 2020

Individual Time Trial

Length 43 km – Elevation gain 1800 m
Start Porretta Terme – Arrival Porretta Terme

The first stage is an individual time trial that starts and ends in the charming village of Porretta Terme on the Apennines above Bologna. We start with a steady 5 km climb on secondary roads with some short steeper sections. We cross the ancient village of Castelluccio and its head-turning Castle Manservisi where a beautiful forest road starts and climbs up to 1300 mt. A fast double track will lead to the prairie “pian dello stellaio” where the course turns and points again to Monte Cavallo with a beautiful single track with superb views of the Apennines. A technical section precedes the end of this trail before the next climb, with some portage sections, to the summit of Mount Piella and its panoramic point marked with a cross overlooking the Reno valley. All downhill finale in the forest following an ancient path dotted by small hamlets. One more technical section before the stairway that marks the arrival to the center of Porretta Terme.


Stage 2 – La Tecnica
Monday September 28 2020

Length 65 km – Elevation gain 3300 m
Start Porretta Terme – Arrival Fanano

In the second stage we start to get serious and after about fifteen kilometers not too demanding, the climb all inside a beautiful forest that starts from the Rifugio della Segavecchia and leads to Sboccata dei Bagnadori spring will soon make a great selection. The Apennine ridge makes its appearance on this stage and you pedal along a path right on the watershed while admiring the right the panorama as far as the Alps on the Emilia Romagna side and, on the left, Tuscany with the Carrara marble Alps in the distance.

After a rewarding descent on a forest road, you will start climbing again towards the prairies and ridges of the Corno alle Scale with the dreaded Passo del Strofinatoio and the push towards one of the most suggestive points of the entire route, Lake Scaffaiolo at 1900 mt. above sea level.

One more nice, technical trail will lead the athletes towards the Doganaccia and again uphill towards the Passo della Croce Arcana, at this point the climb will be almost finished but not the fun because after the Rifugio Capanno Tassoni and the Colombino pass you will descend the legendary CAI 425 path that will lead to the arrival of the stage in the historic center of Fanano.

Stage 3 – Pippo “Yeah”
Tuesday September 29 2020

Length 50 km – Elevation gain 2500 m
Start Fanano – Arrival Fanano

This stage condenses all the best ingredients of this area very well known since a long time for the downhill events of Sestola, but which draws great charm from its natural trails. We will start on asphalt to quickly gain elevation up to Taburri, we will then enter a trail up to the Colombino pass and after the descent we will dive into the majestic chestnut woods, starting to pedal on dirt roads until we reach capanno Tassoni. Once you have passed the refuge and made the last ascent, the view will open up in a succession of open scenery and wide landscapes, which, however, shall not divert our attention from the singletracks on the ridges that follow one another between the Croce Arcana, Lake Scaffaiolo and passo del Lupo. There are few sections of portage, but the effort will be amply repaid by the descent towards the finish line that features a compilation of fun trails, technical sections, ridges with a view and berms, which will make us cross the finish line with a 92 tooth smile, and a load of positive energy to face the challenging next day…

Stage 4 – Queen
Wednesday September 30 2020

Length 110 km – Elevation gain 4200 m
Start  Fanano – Arrival Castelnovo ne’ Monti

The Queen Stage of the 2020 edition is a very hard one not so much for the distance but more for the really massive elevation gain, which goes over 4.000mt. The stage that will take us from the most rugged Apennines to the hill country will spoil you with both the landscape crossed and for the large number of single trails ridden. It will probably be the stage with the greatest total mileage on the trails. From Cimone you will first descend into a forest of oak and chestnut trees along a traverse, then it will be a succession of climbs and descents. Passo del Saltello, Passo San Pellegrino, Passo delle Radici, Passo del Giovarello are the passes that will give us unforgettable views of the mountains. The terrain will be very varied, from forest roads to mule tracks, trails with undergrowth roots and open view trails in blueberry meadows.

The Passo della Cisa is the last great GPM of the day that will project us towards the medieval inhabited area of ​​Sologno from which we will begin to see the Bismantova Rock, our goal. From the town, we will take a technical trail that will take us down to the river Secchia, and once we have crossed the river, a series of switchbacks on asphalt will make us reach the coveted goal, after more than 110km and almost 4200mt of ascent!

Stage 5 – The Rock
Thursday October 1 2020

Length  50 km – Elevation gain 1800 m
Start Castelnovo ne’Monti – Arrival Castelnovo ne’Monti

This is the third loop stage of the race starting and arriving in Castelnovo ne’ Monti. The first part of the route (up to Montemiscoso) follows – in the opposite direction – a stretch of the first edition: after the first km on a paved road you have a series of fast forest roads and some uphill trails up the mountain village of Montemiscoso. A 5 km climb (paved) leads to the beautiful setting of Lake Calamone, which has glacial origin. From here, a long and pleasant downhill trail starts and it will challenge the riders just enough without being too technical. This trail leads back to Cervarezza, where you will take an uphill forest road. Back at high altitude, all you have to do is dive into a short but super fun descent to another mountain village from where you climb and descend on fast roads until you reach the base of the majestic Pietra Di Bismantova that will frame the entire last portion of the path until the arrival.

Stage 6 – 4 Rivers
Friday October 2 2020

Length 94 km – Elevation gain 2500 m
Start Castelnovo ne’Monti – Arrival Collecchio

On the sixth stage, the penultimate, we will leave behind the Apennine massif for good heading to our last challenges towards the immense Po river valley (Po is the main Italian river). And rivers and valleys will be the highlights that will characterize the route.

A fast stage course, flowy, fun, never extreme, but that should not be considered an easy day. The Apennine will say goodbye in its own way (plenty of ups and downs) and at mid-stage it will still give us strong emotions on the trails of a village hosting an enduro race: Calestano; we will descend on one of those trails testing our skills and stamina up to the penultimate valley of the day, to then climb again where we can spot the vast Taro river valley, which we will ride along for a long stretch as if it were a silent companion flowing side to side to Collecchio.

Stage 7 – Follow the Rhythm
Saturday October 3 2020

Length 40 km – Elevation gain 600 m
Start Collecchio – Arrival Collecchio

The final stage is a short and super fun loop route. The first 10 km are flat and fast on both dirt and paved roads that run along the Taro river; then you enter the Boschi di Carrega park. Next, 20 km of pure fun awaits you: a hard-packed trail runs fast with technical sections and sudden changes in grade and sharp corners. We are in an ancient park and ride past the courtyards of historical villas once home of Maria Luigia (duchess of Parma and Napoleon’s wife). The remaining kilometers outside of the park are the final sprint on paved roads and cycle paths all the way to the well-deserved finish line.


For general information go to the webpage Race Course.