The countdown is over: Appenninica gets underway in Porretta Terme  

From September 27th to October 3rd, from Porretta Terme to Collecchio, passing through Fanano and Castelnovo ne’ Monti, Appenninica’s second edition starts for 450 km, 16,000 meters of total elevation gain, and featuring big names of the international MTB scene

The wait was longer than initially expected, but now Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage 2020 is ready to go. Tomorrow, on Sunday, September 27th, the second edition of the unique Italian MTB stage race on the Emilian Apennines will start with an individual time trial from Porretta Terme (Bologna). Trails, climbs and descents will keep the bikers busy until Saturday, October 3rd, when Collecchio (Parma) and the Giarola Court will celebrate the final winners.

Having been forced to push the event from Summer to Fall due to the epidemiological emergency, the Organizing Committee led by Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno resiliently ran its initiative, and a prestigious starting list has amply rewarded it. That’s a promise of great fun over the 450 km and 16,000 meters of total elevation gain expecting the riders.

The XCM European Champion and former World Champion, Portuguese Tiago Ferreira, will be under the spotlight, making the race even more exciting along with his teammate, Dutch Hans Becking. His presence, however, will also motivate his opponents, starting with the defending champion, Austrian Lukas Kaufmann, who does not intend to give up easily despite a greater competition. As a specialist in this type of events, Spaniard-Honduran Milton Ramos will certainly try to add another race to his important palmares, while Lorenzo Samparisi is probably the top option for the Italian hopes.

Equally exciting is the challenge in the womens’ field, with a former World Champion, Swiss Esther Süss, leading a group of very competitive athletes. Lorenza Menapace, from Trentino, is back a year after winning the event in the pairs’ category (canceled this year due to health reasons), trying to repeat the feat in the individual race, while German Sarah Reiners and Italian Gaia Ravaioli will try once more to prove their talent. Finally, it will also be interesting to see at work former German Olympian Regina Marunde, who raced on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines at the 1991 World Championships in “Il Ciocco”.

In the field, there will be also many athletes and enthusiasts whose experience will be focused more on the charm of the adventure than the competition, a journey to discover their limits, to complete the race and enjoy the beauty of the Apennines and the typical Italian atmosphere.

THE COURSE

The route follows, wherever possible, the MTB trail of the Alta Via dei Parchi that leads all over to Tuscany, touching the provinces of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia and Parma. On Sunday, September 27th, the start and the finish of the stage will be in the thermal city of Porretta Terme (Bologna), with a 45-km-long individual time trial and the climb of Mount Piella as a key point, on top of which the beautiful scenery of the Reno valley will open for the riders.

More hurdles expect the athletes on Monday, September 28th, with stage 2 from Porretta Terme to Fanano (Modena) of 60 kilometers, featuring the ascent to the Passo dello Strofinatoio, with the charming coasting of the Scaffaiolo Lake, to continue with the Passo della Croce Arcana, the Passo del Colombino and the descent along the mythical CAI 425 trail.

The third stage on Tuesday, September 29th presents 50 kilometers with start and finish line in Fanano and was charted by renowned trail builder Pippo Marani: it will offer one of the best scenery of the week, with the majestic chestnut woods to frame the first part of the race, before facing highly-entertaining trails, with technical descents, ridges with view and toboggan.

The next day, on Wednesday, September 30th, it is time for the “Queen Stage”, from Fanano to Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) for a total of 110 kilometers and over 4,000 meters of elevation gain. Passo del Saltello, Passo di San Pellegrino, Passo delle Radici, Passo del Giovarello and Passo della Cisa will be the climbs on the menu, making for an epic day.

On Thursday, October 1st, Castelnovo ne’ Monti will host the start and the finish of the fifth stage (53 kilometers), taking place by the banks of the Calamone Lake in the first part, and in the nearbies of the Pietra of Bismantova massif in the second, for a rippling race full of ups and downs.

From Castelnovo ne’ Monti the riders will go to Collecchio (Parma) and the Giarola Court for the 94-km-long sixth stage on Friday, October 2nd, and leaving behind the Apennine chain and diving into the Po Valley, with rivers and valleys that will keep company to the riders during the whole stage.

A great racing week will end with the Collecchio-Collecchio stage, on Saturday, October 3rd, with 35 kilometers in the background of the Carrega Woods park, that is sure to be remembered for the ride through the courtyards of historical villas, home to Marie Louise (duchess of Parma and Napoleon’s wife).

Sunday, September 27th: Porretta Terme – Porretta Terme (45 km)
Elevation Gain: 1645 m

Monday, September 28th: Porretta Terme – Fanano (60 km)
Elevation Gain: 2650 m

Tuesday, September 29th: Fanano – Fanno (50 km)
Elevation Gain: 2300 m

Wednesday, September 30th: Fanano – Castelnovo ne’ Monti (110 km)
Elevation Gain: 4300 m

Thursday, October 1st: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Castelnovo ne’ Monti (53 km)
Elevation Gain: 1900 m

Friday, October 2nd: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Collecchio (94 km)
Elevation Gain: 2500 m

Saturday, October 3rd: Collecchio – Collecchio (35 km)
Elevation Gain: 650 m

Porretta’s thermal baths and music await Appenninica family

Focus on the stage venues – On Sunday September 27th and Monday 28th, the main town of Alto Reno Terme municipality will host Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race’s opening time trial and the start of the second stage

It is time to discover the four municipalities that will host the second edition of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, scheduled from September 27th to October 3rd. Porretta Terme (Alto Reno Terme’s main town) and the Province of Bologna will set the stage start, confirming their commitment after welcoming the fourth stage of the 2019 edition.

On Sunday, September 27th, Piazza della Libertà in Porretta Terme will be closed to traffic and well prepped to welcome the Appenninica family before their first effort. A 43-km individual time trial will get things started, with start and finish in the heart of the thermal town in the province of Bologna. After the first steady 5 km climb on secondary roads, with some short steeper sections, the bikers will cross the ancient village of Castelluccio and Manservisi Castle’s park where a beautiful forest road starts and climbs up to 1300 mt.

A fast double track will lead to the “Pian dello Stellaio” prairie where the course turns and points again to Mount Cavallo with a beautiful single track opening a stunning view over the Apennines. A technical section precedes the end of this trail before the following climb, with some portage sections, to the summit of Mount Piella and its panoramic point, with a cross overlooking the Reno valley. The final downhill in the forest follows an ancient path dotted by small hamlets. Bikers will then face one more technical section before the stairway that marks the finish in the center of Porretta Terme.

The village close to Bologna will also launch the 65-km second stage of Appenninica towards Fanano (Modena), on Monday, September 28th. The first part is demanding with the climb starting from the Rifugio della Segavecchia and leading to Sboccata dei Bagnadori all inside the forest. The bikers will then ride to the Apennine ridge and the Corno delle Scale mountain before entering the province of Modena to face a techincal and tricky final.

“Appenninica is a premium opportunity to team up with all the Emilia-Romagna municipalities to promote the Northern Apennines and the Alta Via dei Parchi – the Mayor of Alto Reno Terme Giuseppe Nanni explained -. Confirming our commitment in the race shows our confidence in the opportunity of diversifying the tourist offer, leveraging on sports activities related to green and eco-sustainable tourism. Appenninica has an international flair and contributes to create a new image of Alto Reno Terme, linked to thermal baths, wellness, nature, sports and leisure, with an excellent gastronomic offer”.

PORRETTA TERME: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Alto Reno Terme is a town in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, renowned for its thermal waters, the green of its forests and picturesque villages set in its mountains. Not by chance, it has been awarded by the EDEN project as a destination of excellence in sustainable tourism.

The main town, Porretta Terme, is home to important musical events such as the Porretta Soul Festival and many others (Prog Festival, Jazz Festival, international courses of classical music etc.). The local gastronomy is renowned, thanks to its typical products (in particular chestnuts, such as the “neccio”, “tortino di Porretta” and chestnut beer) and positively contaminated by the culinary traditions of Emilia and Tuscany.

The rich and fascinating trails network allows to carry out mountain biking and trekking activities in an uncontaminated environment. Not to be missed, in particular, are the Suviana and Brasimone Lakes Park and the Rifugio Montecavallo, nestled in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.

Safety first for Appenninica: new rules for enhanced prevention

The organizers of the Italian MTB stage race (September 27th- October 3rd) are developing anti-COVID prevention measures, according to the guidelines provided by the Italian Federation and the Government. Two significant changes to the race format: the race will be only individual, and the first stage in Porretta Terme becomes a time trial

Italy seems to have left behind the most critical phase of the Covid-19 emergency, but attention needs to stay high as cycling competitions are about to restart in the Country. The organizers of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race are putting in the utter effort so that the stage race, scheduled from September 27th to October 3rd, can be held in total safety for athletes, insiders, and the public.

The Italian Cycling Federation ensured the possibility to return racing, respecting the prevention guidelines for individual or collective races. Appenninica’s organizing committee has, therefore, made significant arrangements to reduce any risk situation significantly.

In recent weeks the organizers have been constantly in touch with the athletes and their staff, updating them on the developments of the emergency in Italy and the conduct codes established by the national and sporting authorities. At the same time, in addition to creating the Anti-Infection Committee, Appenninica is instructing its staff, volunteers, and external partners to provide more extensive knowledge of the prevention measures.

The so-called “Yellow Zone”, which brings together athletes and professionals, will be kept under close surveillance to avoid unnecessary contacts and maintain, wherever possible, social distance. For this reason, some technical procedures initially planned will be modified, or deleted, to minimize the risk of gathering in sensitive areas.

In addition to temperature measurement with thermoscanners, there will be several stations dispensing gel sanitizer and specific signals with the conduct rules in the race and common areas. Precautions will also be taken for refreshments and evening dinners, avoiding buffets, while athletes will be forbidden to exchange bottles among them.

“FCI guidelines follow the right way for the prevention – Beppe Salerno, co-organizer along with Milena Bettocchi, explains -. At this stage, it is crucial to be cautious, because the Covid-19 has still to be defeated. We are confident that these measures, together with the common sense of all those involved, will allow us to race in complete safety”.

For this reason, two relevant modifications to the race format were decided to further reduce the risk of infection. The first is the abolition of the “Team” category for the 2020 edition: therefore each biker will compete individually and not in pairs, with all riders being reassigned to their individual categories: “In this situation, bike, tools and any other object in and outside the race must be personal, and also the exchange of water bottles and bars is not allowed: we love the ‘Team’ formula, but we believe it is safer to renounce it as a further preventive measure for this year. Moreover, with the current extraordinary regulations, the podium is necessarily limited to three athletes”, Beppe Salerno explained.

The second change concerns the first stage on Sunday, September 27th, starting and finishing in Porretta Terme (Bologna), which becomes an individual time trial. Such an option will allow better management of the starts, with distanced starting grids enacted from stage two.

Useful information about Appenninica

Appenninica is a full-service race, so the registration fee already includes many services: from overnight stays to meals and technical assistance and many others. However, some extra service packages are also available to make the experience more complete and comfortable.

The race will touch four provinces, in four municipalities immersed in the Apennines beauty, over seven stages. It will start from Porretta Terme (Bologna), that will host the first stage (individual time trial) and the start of the second, then move to Fanano (Modena) and from the fourth, the Queen Stage of over 4000 meters of elevation gain, in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia). The finish of the last two stages will be in Noceto (Parma), in the heart of the Parmigiano Reggiano production area. THE STAGES IN DETAIL

Registrations for Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race are open on the website. Teams that have not yet had the opportunity to plan the 2020 season can contact the organizers for participation.