The general racecourse description is here.
What follows is a preview of the stages to give you an idea of how demanding the race is.
A quick word about this info:
- The following information is preliminary and is subject to change.
- The route is broadly defined but could still undergo some minor changes. This Appenninica racecourse will be finalized later in the spring, as some sections of terrain can shift and change during winter and early spring.
- In the springtime, once the snow melts, the Apennine of Emilia Romagna bloom and come to life, rainfall diminishes, and the land adjusts to the changing of the seasons. During that time, we will thoroughly revise all trails and forest roads that have been selected for the event. You will have to wait until we verify actual conditions, possible re-routing, and maintenance needs – if any – to see the final version of the stages in the official publication.
- We’ve carefully selected trails with an eye to past editions’ average speeds and the estimated times it took to complete the stages.
We’ve planned everything with a goal to offer a tough week of mountain bike stage racing without compromising the enjoyment of riding great trails that are part of an incredibly beautiful natural landscape.
We have four stage venues with moderately difficult routes spread out over the course of a week. With three loop stages (Castelnovo ne’ Monti, Fiumalbo and Vidicatico), competitors will be under less stress and have more hours to recover, as well as have time to explore and learn about the stage locations.
In the meantime, get ready for a challenging race with varied terrain and alternating continuous climbs and descents that will test your endurance, but with just as many stretches of pure, adrenaline-filled downhill fun.
Monday September 4 2023
Length 57 km – Elevation gain 1900 m
Start Castelnovo nè Monti – Arrival Castelnovo nè Monti
Stage one is a loop around Castelnovo ne’ Monti and Carpineti, in the heart of Matilda di Canossa’s fiefdoms. A route of 57 km and 1.900 m elevation gain at the footsteps of the Bismantova Rock, near the village and the iconic Carpineti’s Castle.
This will be the opening stage, one not to underestimate. Its difficulties go beyond digits and race profile: indeed, a quick sequence of up and down traits with challenging gradients will immediately test the legs of the riders.
Right after the start, a single trail downhill will head the peloton in the woods, on paths and forest roads until the first refreshment point in Branciglia. After the break, another single trail descent – even longer than the previous one – will bring the riders to ford the Tresinaro river. Once crossed it, the route will climb towards the village of Carpineti, home of the Carpinete Castle – built by Matilde di Canossa around the year 1000 -, and hosting the second refreshment point.
The race keeps going on more single trail and forest roads, reaching the lowest point of the stage at the Secchia river. From here it climbs again on the Spallanzani path towards the iconic Bismantova Rock, who will accompany the riders till the end of the stage.
Tuesday September 5 2023
Length 89 km – Elevation gain 3250 m
Start Castelnovo nè Monti – Arrival Fiumalbo
Thanks to its route almost completely over 1500 m above sea level, the Queen Stage of Appenninica will offer once again wonderful views and intense emotions. The stage retraces for a major part the well-known paths of the Alta Via dei Parchi: even though the length and the altitude difference is slightly less than the previous editions, the Queen Stage remains a characteristic feature of the race.
The start marks the last goodbye to the Bismantova Rock, before crossing the Secchia River and tackling the first – long – ascent of the day (19 km and 1.200 m elevation gain), which ends in the refreshment point at km 20. Through a forest road, the riders will reach the Cisa Pass and from here they will face a brilliant trail in the new Torricella Bike Park, in the Mount Cusna area.
From the Febbio village, after the second refreshment, another ascent will await the riders. More forest roads will take the peloton to the Mount Giovarello peak (1.760 m asl), and from here – if the weather will be on the riders’ side – it will be possible to overlook the entire Po’ Valley, until the coasts of Tuscany. Once reached the Radici Pass – where the third refreshment is located – it’s finally time to descend through more forest road and single trails segments towards the Pievepelago village. From here, it will take just a few kilometers on concrete surface to reach the finish line in Fiumalbo.
Wednesday September 6 2023
Length 79 km – Elevation gain 2550 m
Start Fiumalbo – Arrival Fiumalbo
Stage 3 will be double-face: in the first 30 km the athletes will ride on more technical and slow uphills and downhills, while the second part of the stage will turn into way faster forest roads, for a total of 78 km and 2.700 m of elevation gain. This stage crosses routes of an historical relevance for trading, military and religious purposes in different ages, from Longobardi to Borboni, ranging approximately from 500 to 1500 A.C. (After Christ).
Day 3 starts again with a climb: 500 m of elevation gain in just 6 km, leading the bunch towards a new territory for Appenninica: in fact, the race will enter Tuscany for the very first time, through the Abetone Pass, featuring a well-known ski resort and bike park.
The next challenge will be the Ducale della Foce road: a 2 km climb made very tricky by its flooring. Indeed, the athletes will have to ride on the original cobbled pavement, built over 200 years ago at the request of the Duchess of Lucca, Maria Luisa di Borbone.
Before reaching the first refreshment in Pievepelago, another historical road will be tackled: it is a path crafted by the Longobardi under King Rotari, dating back to approximately year 700 A.C.
After the refreshment break, the stage becomes way more flowing thanks to an asphalt climb up to the village of Sant’Anna Pelago. From here, 16 kilometres of forest tracks run once again along a historic route: it is the Via Vandelli, built for logistical-military and commercial purposes by Duke Francesco III d’Este around the 18th century, as a link between the cities of Modena and Massa Carrara. The second refreshment point is about halfway along this segment.
Following a nice downhill trail, the route finally crosses the medieval village of Riolunato, before returning to Fiumalbo.
Thursday September 7 2023
Length 62 km – Elevation gain 2350 m
Start Fiumalbo – Arrival Fanano
The protagonist of stage 4 is Mount Cimone (2.165m asl), the highest peak of the Northern Apennines: its top will always be the reference point for the athletes along the 63 km with 2.350 m elevation gain of the route.
The first 10 km feature a 900 m gain in altitude, reaching Pian Cavallaro, close to the Cimone peak. From almost 2.000m asl the riders will nosedive to 1.000m asl, crossing the magnificent Ninfa Lake, more forest roads and the Cimone Bike Park trails until the village of Montecreto.
Here, the second ascent of the day will kick in. An asphalt-paved climb from Sestola to the Serre Pass, 8 km long with 600 m of elevation gain, will bring the riders on a single trail towards Fanano, end of the stage. However, before crossing the finish line, the athletes will climb one more time up to Fellicarolo, before facing a technical trail that leads to Fanano and finally to the end of the stage.
Friday September 8 2023
Length 61 km – Elevation gain 2500 m
Start Fanano – Arrival Vidiciatico
“Appenninica Distilled” is a combination of what Appenninica is for us and also for the athletes who have participated in previous editions: spectacular ridges, technical and fun trails surrounded by wonderful nature, breathtaking views and timeless villages. In short, pure MTB for 61 km and 2500 m of altitude difference.
There are two major climbs in this stage. The first is the Colombino Pass, an ascent of 14 kilometres and 900 metres of altitude difference running on a secondary asphalt road in the first part, and on a forest road and path in its last part, before becoming single track.
From the summit, the riders descend on a scenic and fun single track to the hamlet of Ospitale. The second climb of the day kicks off again on asphalt road, but after the first refreshment point it turns into a forest trail crossing one of the most iconic beech woods of the Apennines, until the Croce Arcana Pass. Here it will be time for the most famous and loved trail of Appenninica, the one leading to the Scaffaiolo Lake, where a magnificent 18 km downhill begins, crossing the Pratignano Lake and offering a full overview of the Ospitale Valley. Most of the descent is made of single track segments, and after the second refreshment, a slower single trail will bring the athletes to ford the Dardagna river, before facing the last 7 km of climbing until the finish line.
Saturday September 9 2023
Length 36 km – Elevation gain 1500 m
Start Vidiciatico – Arrival Vidiciatico
The final stage fully winds on the trails of Mount Pizzo, who received much appreciation from the athletes in the previous editions.
Even though it represents the final parade, is a stage not to underestimate: all in all, we still ride in Appenninica!
The rout is 37 km and 1500 m elevation gain loop, to be ridden 1,5 times. After being the starting line, Vidiciatico will be crossed two more times and will host the refreshment point. The athletes will first tackle the climbs on forest roads, then they will descend on the “Ca Lenzi” (twice) and “Albarè” trail (once).