Castelnovo and the iconic Bismantova Rock await Appenninica

Focus on the stage venues – The town in the province of Reggio Emilia and the beautiful “Rock” in the background are set to host Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race again on September 30th and October 1st

The discovery journey through Appenninica Parmigiano Reggiano Stage 2020’s stage venues, scheduled from September 27th to October 3rd, continues. After Porretta Terme (Bologna) and Fanano (Modena), Castelnovo ne’ Monti also decided to replicate the 2019 experience, welcoming the Appenninica family once more. The town of the Reggio Emilia province will host two stages this year, and the start of a third one that will lead the riders to the province of Parma.

On Wednesday, September 30th, Castelnovo ne’ Monti and the “Don Bosco” oratory will be the finish area of the long-awaited Queen Stage, whose 105 km and 4300 m of total elevation gain will prove crucial for the final classification of the stage race.

Bikers will face the Passo del Saltello, Passo di San Pellegrino in Alpe, Passo delle Radici, Passo del Giovarello and Passo della Cisa before heading towards the medieval town of Sologno, from where the Bismantova Rock, an authentic symbol of Appenninica, starts to appear. The riders will continue on a technical trail from the city taking them down to the Secchia river. Once they have crossed the river, a series of switchbacks on asphalt will lead them back to the “Don Bosco” oratory to take the well-deserved rest.

But it will be especially on the following day, Thursday October 1st, when Castelnovo ne’ Monti will be in the spotlights, as stage 5 starts and finishes in the central Piazza Peretti. The first part of the route follows – in the opposite direction – a stretch of the first edition: after the first kilometers on paved road, a sequence of fast forest roads and uphill trails rise towards the Montemiscoso mountain village. A 5-km paved climb leads to the beautiful setting of the glacial-origin Lake Calamone, and from there, a long and pleasant downhill trail leads back to Cervarezza and another uphill forest road. Back to the top of the mountain, there is a short and fun downhill that anticipates some “ups and downs” on fast roads until reaching the base of the majestic Bismantova Rock, framing the last part of the course until the finish in Piazza Peretti.

The “Don Bosco” oratory will then launch the riders towards the Parma province and outside the Apennine massif on Friday, October 2nd, in the stage that will end in Collecchio. “In recent years, the practice of MTB has grown exponentially, and the territory and the ridge of the mid-Apennines offer routes appreciated by bikers from all over Italy and beyond – the Mayor of Castelnovo ne’ Monti, Enrico Bini, explained -. In Castelnovo, we are lucky enough to have extraordinary landscapes, such as the Bismantova Rock, and comfortable accommodation facilities for the bikers. The fact that Appenninica partners with Parmigiano Reggiano, the leading agri-food product of our area and excellence recognized worldwide, is another excellent vehicle for promoting the town and its agricultural sector. We look forward to welcoming the Appenninica family”.

CASTELNOVO NE’ MONTI: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Nestled in the green of three conifers, Castelnovo ne’ Monti boasts a central geographical position between the valleys of Secchia and Enza, Reggio Emilia and the Passo del Cerreto. For this reason, it is considered the capital of the Reggio Emilia mountains. The heart of the entire landscape is the Bismantova Rock, a majestic grey sandstone rocky emergency that stretches on the top of a plateau. The “Rock” is the icon of a territory that also encloses the area of the Triassic Chalks, ancient rocks that date back to the period called “Trias” (200 million years ago), and the archaeological site of Campo Pianelli.

In addition to offering an evocative scenery for trekking or jogging lovers, the territory provides a network of well-equipped trails for those who wish to pursue well being through the outdoor activity. The tracks for horses and bikes around the Bismantova Rock are also very appreciated as it is the climbing in the Rock, point of excellence of this discipline.

There’s plenty to enjoy also for the food lovers, such as the “salame fiorettino” and the mountain “zuccotto”; the first stands out for the tasty “lardelli” cut by hand while the Bismantova “zuccotto” is a typical Christmas dessert. The mountain “erbazzone” is another can’t-miss treat: a savory cake stuffed with spinach, Parmigiano Reggiano and other local specialties.

DISCOVER MORE ON CASTELNOVO NE’ MONTI

When the tough gets going: Appenninica’s Queen Stage

105 km and over 4,200 meters of elevation gain: plenty of fun and suffering in the fourth stage of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, from Fanano to Castelnovo ne’ Monti. It will be one of the hardest stages of the whole 2020 MTB season

There will be plenty to discover and plenty to conquer through the 458 km of the 2020 edition of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, facing continuous gradients up and down, scattered all over the seven stages from July 19th to 25th, dealing with dirt roads, stones and single trails.

However, there is a date circled in red by all the Appenninica’s braves: Wednesday, July 22nd, the day of stage 4, the Queen stage of this edition. 105 km from Fanano (Modena) to Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) with over 4200 meters of elevation gain. The elevation gain to kilometres ratio makes the Queen Stage of Appenninica one of the hardest of all the stage races in 2020: a reason of extra pride for those who will be able to complete it.

“The interpretation of this stage won’t be easy – Course Director Luca Bortolotti explained -. After the start in Fanano, we will head towards the Mount Cimone, a climb mainly in tarmac of almost 18 kilometers with fairly constant gradient. The last part will be on a forest road and we will move on a ridge that will precede the first long descent towards Pievepelago, all on trail, and a final part on an old mule track, with many curves”.

“It is important to recover in this section as in Pievepelago a new ascent begins along the Rio Perticara that leads to the Passo del Saltello: another long climb on a trail. In fact, from kilometer 30 to 95 we will have 90% of dirt roads, which will test the abilities of the athletes with many pitfalls and no space to breathe”.

“After descending to Civago, riders will find one of the most beautiful and fascinating trails of the whole week. From Civago, they will climb up through a long cross, very technical and full of “ups and downs”, sure to be felt in the riders’ legs aster 70 km. The athletes will then arrive in Rescadore with a fast section, with many changes of pace on a surface full of stones and obstacles. From there another long ascent runs alongside the refuge Mount Orsaro and ends on the Passo della Cisa, where the riders will be able to breathe for a few moments. A trail leads up to the medieval village of Sologno and then to the bridge that crosses the Secchia river, from where it is possible to admire the Bismantova Rock. They will then return on asphalt on the provincial road until the finish of Castelnovo ne’ Monti”.

The stage winner will take six to six and half hours to finish the race, “but even the most trained riders will have to suffer”, Bortolotti said. But the true nature of Appenninica is to win the challenge with yourself, regardless the GC position. That’s why Appenninica opted to abolish the time limit for the two stages longer than 100 km. “We want everyone to come to Appenninica with the desire of testing themselves and give them the opportunity to succeed. We are their main supporters” Bortolotti concluded.

On the day, the bikers will race in the midst of the Parmigiano Reggiano production area, and a breathtaking scenary will frame their efforts on the MTB. It is not by coincidence that the Tuscan and Emilian Apennines, where the majority of the Appenninica action unfolds, were chosen by the UNESCO as MAB Reserve (Man and the Biosphere) to promote a balanced relationship between man and the environment through the protection of biodiversity and good practices of sustainable development.