STAGES

The general racecourse description is here.

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 racecourse is almost complete but it could still be refined. The exact racecourse of the Appenninica will be finalized in the spring season, as some sections of the terrain can shift and change during winter and early spring.
  • 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 five stage locations and we alternate longer stages and shorter but more technical ones. Three loop stages (Porretta, Fanano, Castelnovo ne’ Monti) 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 - LA MATILDICA

Sunday September 4 2022

Length​ 52 km – Elevation gain 1800 m
Start Castelnovo nè Monti – Arrival Castelnovo nè Monti

.

The first stage is a loop around Castelnovo ne’Monti, on a route of 52 km and 1800 mt of elevation gain at the foot of the iconic Bismantova Rock, with a passage through Carpineti and its scenic castle. It will be the welcome stage to Appenninica and, in contrast to past editions, will not be a time trial stage but a mass start like all the others. It can be defined as a hilly stage: there will be no long climbs or descents but a succession of ups and downs, sometimes even with high gradients. After the start, we immediately enter a single downhill trail followed by a series of paths and forest trails that lead to the summit of Monte Fosola. From there, we ride along the beautiful ridge to the Carpineti Castle (built by Matilde di Canossa around 1000 AD). After a stop for refreshments, we return to riding along a mixture of single trails and forestry tracks until we reach the lowest point of the stage at the Secchia river. The final part of the stage is a climb towards the iconic Bismantova Rock, whose view will keep company to the riders for much of the last kilometres.

STAGE 2 - THE ROCK

Monday September 5 2022

Length​ 62 km – Elevation gain 2350 m
Start Castelnovo nè Monti – Arrival Castelnovo nè Monti

.

The second stage is again a loop around Castelnovo, but we begin to get serious and breathe more of the spirit of Appenninica, both in terms of the route and the views. The first part is very fast with a mix of forest roads and dirt tracks, always uphill for almost 25 km, interspersed with short descents, including the always pleasant “Arrangiati” trail on the Monte Ventasso area.

After the first refreshment stop near the picturesque Calamone Lake, a further effort is required to reach the crest of Monte Pastorale (1500 m altitude). A short and scenic stretch of the ridge will anticipate a 700-metre negative descent in 5 km along a single track recently restored and reopened by the Ventasso Rebike association.

From this point, the route becomes a succession of ups and downs, typical of this area, almost entirely on dirt tracks. The final section will again feature the Bismantova Rock, but don’t be fooled by the sight of it; it doesn’t mean that the exertions are over: the riders will have to circumvent the Rock around its typical paths.

STAGE 3 - HIGH MOUNTAIN QUEEN STAGE

Tuesday September 6 2022

Length​ 103 km – Elevation gain 3600 m
Start Castelnovo nè Monti – Arrival Fanano

.

There will be no shortage of thrills in the Queen Stage, 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.

STAGE 4 - PIPPO YEAH 2.0

Wednesday September 7 2022

Length​ 55 km – Elevation gain 2200 m
Start FananoArrival Fanano

.

Can something practically perfect be improved? We have tried it with stage 4, “Pippo Yeah 2.0”. By now, this stage is a must at every edition of Appenninica. According to everyone, we repeat this stage in years because it embodies the quintessence of MTB, both in terms of the route and the panorama. We have only added a few kilometres of single trail flow but always following the suggestions of the “father” of these trails: the famous trail builder Pippo Marani, whom the Appenninica competitors have got acquainted with by now.

There are two important climbs in this stage. The first kicks off on asphalt on a secondary road, then leaving way for the second half on a forest road and path until it becomes a single track towards the Colombino Pass, after 14 km and 900 mt d+. We then descend on a beautiful and fun single track to the hamlet of Ospitale. The second ascent starts on a secondary asphalt road to immediately switch to a subsequent forest track under one of the most beautiful beech forests in the Apennines, which leads to the highest ridge up to Passo della Croce Arcana. Here starts the unforgettable single track of the most famous and popular ridge of the Apennines, which takes us back to the area near Scaffaiolo Lake, where the spectacular downhill trail begins, passing by the Pratignano Lake and offering an unmissable view of the valley from its impressive overhangs. In the last 18 km of the descent, 15 km are single track.

STAGE 5 - GOTHIC LINE

Thursday September 8 2022

Length67 km – Elevation gain 2200 m
Start FananoArrival Porretta Terme

.

After the High Mountain Queen Stage, stage 5 will be the second longest of Appenninica 2022, with 67 km and 2200 metres of elevation gain. We say goodbye to Fanano to head back up towards Fellicarolo as on the previous day, and then immediately start with one of the most technical descents of the day, which takes the athletes back down into the valley of the Ospitale stream.

The central part of the stage will be hilly with several ups and downs on dirt tracks through the woods and will cross the areas of the “Gothic Line”, theatre of resistance battles during World War II. After the second and final refreshment stop, there’s only the last climb of the day, which will take the athletes to the picturesque village of Monteacuto delle Alpi. Separating the athletes from the finish line there will be only a couple of descents, a technical one leading to Castelluccio and a second one, faster but not to be underestimated, ending just before the arrival in Porretta Terme.

STAGE 6 - IL CORNO

Friday September 9 2022

Length​ 63 km – Elevation gain 2700 m
Start Porretta TermeArrival Lizzano in Belvedere

.

Stage 6 will be two-sided: after a climb of a few kilometres on asphalt, the first part will see the athletes tackle around 30 kilometres of forest trails through the forest. No human settlements will be encountered except for a few huts. There are no technical difficulties, but great focus will be needed to tackle this long stretch alone with nature. 

Arriving at the second refreshment point at Km 37, the route changes entirely in terms of both technical level and panorama: that’s where the riders find the demanding climb (6 km and 600 metres of elevation gain) leading to the Strofinatoio Pass, ending with 500 metres of portage.

From the pass, there is only the fantastic ridge that leads to Scaffaiolo Lake, and finally the conclusive part, almost completely downhill, on paths and single trails of varying difficulty.

STAGE 7 - MONTE PIZZO

Saturday September 10 2022

Length37 km – Elevation gain 1550 m
Start  Lizzano in Belvedere Arrival Lizzano in Belvedere

.

The final stage takes place entirely on the paths of Monte Pizzo, where the natural bike park single trails were top-rated last year. It might feel like the final parade, but since this is Appenninica, the riders will have to earn their finishers’ title even in their last – albeit short – effort.

The stage will be run on a loop to be faced ona and a half times, and will see the athletes tackle climbs on forest trails before launching themselves on the descents on the “Cuplina” trail, to be ridden twice, and the “Albarè”, once.