As promised, we’re giving you a preview of the elevation profiles 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.
In the meantime, prepare yourselves for a tough race with a 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.
Prologue – Bologna
Saturday 20th July 2019
Lenght 12,7 km – Elevation gain 470 m
Start Bologna – Arrival Bologna
The prologue starts at Dall’Ara stadium in Bologna and tackles one of the most known classic climbs in cycling which is the steep, 2 km long, ascent to the Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca. After passing under the arch of Meloncello the riders continue alongside the historical arcade up to Colle della Guardia. This climb is paved and the off-road section starts just meters after the top. The next section rolls on trails dominating Bologna from above. The course meanders between narrow forest roads and fun trails before diving downhill back to the city through the Meloncello arch again and to the finish line.
Stage 1 – 1000 Laghi
Sunday 21st July 2019
Length 80 km – Elevation gain 3400 m
Start Berceto – Arrival Castelnovo ‘ne Monti
This first stage is not very demanding, but much will depend on your pace along the faster climbs. It’s the ‘lakes’ stage (Lagoni, lago Ballano, lago Verdarolo, lago Scuro, lago Squincio, lago Paduli). At Cirone Pass the route runs along a ridge and through some forest roads among chestnut trees. The forest opens up every now and then to afford views of Tuscan valleys. Green clearings are lead to small hamlets in the Val di Tacca. Some steep sections will force most to hike a bike while some paved stretches will allow you to catch your breath. The key will be to ease yourself into race mode without going over the limit.
Stage 2 – The Rock
Monday 22nd July 2019
Length 110 km – Elevation gain 3500 m
Start Castelnovo ‘ne Monti – Arrival Monte Cimone
The second stage runs in the shadow of mysterious Pietra di Bismantova, the imposing rock formation which is one of the symbols of the region. The route crosses ancient roman ways and the Matilde’s Path (from Matilde di Canossa). It’s a long day with mixed terrain and it will be important to stay focused so as not to lose your tempo. Even for the best endurance riders refueling will be crucial with 110 km and 3500 mt of elevation gain. Tough ending with the climb of Mt Cimone and technical downhill to the finish line in Fanano.
Stage 3 – Alta Via
Tuesday 23rd July 2019
Length 55 km – Elevation gain 2100 m
Start Monte Cimone – Arrival Porretta Terme
This is a shorter stage but don’t underestimate it. After an initial demanding climb the course becomes less steep as you gain elevation immersed in a forest. The second part of the stage will test the riders’ technical skills with a rocky and exposed section. These are high-mountain ridge trails with views that can span to both Italian coastlines. Some short downhill sections will again require skillful bike handling and only a few will be able to ride them. Once you enter the final wooded section, a long and pleasant descent will lead to the stage host town: the thermal village of Alto Reno Terme (Porretta).
Stage 4 – La Cronoscalata del Monte Piella (time trial) – Start Appenninica4
Wednesday 24th July 2019
Length 23 km – Elevation gain 830 m
Start Porretta Terme – Arrival Porretta Terme
After a quick climb on secondary roads and a nice stretch of paved panoramic road you will cross the ancient village of Castelluccio and its Castle Manservisi. You climb again on a beautiful forest road until you reach the summit of Mount Piella with views of the Reno Valley. The descent is technical but enjoyable, on a single track trail with a wooded pinewood and beech forest, then follows from the Marconiano path (Guglielmo Marconi had his father’s house in this town) which brings back to the center of Porretta Terme.
Stage 5 – La Linea Gotica
Thursday 25th July 2019
Length 90km – Elevation gain 2300 m
Start Porretta Terme – Arrival Castel del Rio
This is the stage of lakes, gods, and chestnut trees. The stage course loosely follows the Linea Gotica, the most important German line of defense in Italy during WWII. Some initial smooth climbs bordering the park’s lakes lead to a series of short climbs in bucolic farmland. The land is mostly a forest of chestnut and oak trees with, so watch out for the roots! We are now at a lower elevation with a hilly landscape and clay soil. For a short distance you’ll be riding on the famous Via degli Dei (path of gods) that connects Bologna and Florence. The course goes up again to reach Alpe di Monghidoro and from there a fast downhill among centuries-old chestnut trees takes you to the hamlet of Castle del Rio.
Stage 6 – Queen Stage
Friday 26th July 2019
Length 112 km – Elevation gain 4000 m
Start Castel del Rio – Arrival Bagno di Romagna
The main challenge of the queen stage is its length. There are plenty of kilometers and many flowing ups and down but don’t be tricked by the apparently easy terrain! The second part of the stage is definitely demanding! A very long climb takes you up to the centuries-old forest of the monks of Camaldoli within the Foreste del Casentinese National Park. The way down will be extremely fun. Mind the last technical descent with plenty of loose rocks and limestone slabs. If you survive this stage the Finisher title is within your reach!
Stage 7 – La Tecnica
Saturday 27th July 2019
Length 40 km – Elevation gain 1650 m
Start Bagno di Romagna – Arrival Bagno di Romagna
After a tiring queen stage, you’ll need one final effort to make it to the end of the race. You start off with a short paved section but at San Piero in Bagno you start climbing and enter a trail called sentiero del lupo (wolf’s path) which gently arrives at passo dei Mandrioli. The beechwood gets thicker and the trail gets narrower and zigs zags through the trees. You summit at passo della Crocina and the fun downhill is your cue that you are heading back to Bagno. At passo Lupatti prepare for the last technical downhill which presents a steep grade and loose rocks.
The official stages will be announced in May 2019.
For general information go to the webpage Race Course.