Countdown is on for the “Italian Cape Epic”. Six months to Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano

The MTB stage race taking place in Italy, in the Emilian Apennines, is warming up for an exciting edition from July 19th to 25th, 2020

Ph. E. Melchiori

Only six months are left to the second edition of Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, and the countdown has started. From July 19th to 25th, 2020, the Emilian Apennines will welcome bikers from all over the world for a seven-day MTB race, looking to continue in the wake of the success of last year’s first edition. Again this year, hard work will be needed to the riders to earn the cherished finisher’s medal: given the profile of the Italian Apennines, an area still largely unexplored by the MTB world, that could have been taken for granted.

From the first edition, the organizers chose for a demanding course, putting a strain on the riders’ capabilities, but also giving them every chance to realize what they are surrounded from: a breathtaking landscape and a typical Italian atmosphere, which make “Appenninica” a truly unique experience.

It is more than a race, a real adventure to discover the territory, each rider’s limits, the authentic values that can be found in living a week fully immersed in the “big family” of Appenninica. A challenging and intense race that will be remembered beyond the final result, just like the Cape Epic, the South African stage race that is considered the most important in this specific sector. Also for this, considering Appenninica “the Italian Cape Epic” might sound ambitious, but not out of place.


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. The bikers will face a total of 460 kilometers distributed over seven stages, with steep climbs and technical descents, for an elevation gain of about 16 thousand meters.

On Sunday, July 19th, the start and the finish of the stage will be in the thermal city of Porretta Terme (Bologna), with 43 challenging kilometers 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, July 20th, with stage 2 from Porretta Terme to Fanano (Modena) of 65 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, July 21st presents 50 kilometers with start and finish line in Fanano: it will offer one of the best sceneries 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, July 22nd, it is time for the “Queen Stage”, from Fanano to Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) for a total of 105 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, July 23rd, Castelnovo ne’ Monti will host the start and the finish of the fifth stage (50 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 Noceto (Parma) for the 105-km-long sixth stage on Friday, July 24th, 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.

This great week of racing will end with the Noceto-Noceto stage, on Saturday, July 25th, with 40 kilometers in the background of the Boschi di Carrega park, that is sure to be remembered for the ride through the courtyards of historical villas, home to Maria Luigia (duchess of Parma and Napoleon’s wife).

Ph. E. Melchiori


As in the first edition, it is possible to participate in the Apenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race both individually– men and women – and in pairs, with three different modalities: men, women and mixed.

In order not to overcrowd the trails, many of which ride through regional and national parks, and to ensure the highest level of quality to all the athletes during and after the race, the organizers chose for a closed number of maximum 150 registered athletes.

Like all the main MTB stage events, such as Cape Epic, Apenninica MTB Stage Race is a full-service race: from meals to accommodation, from refreshments to mechanical assistance in the race, from out-of-race transportatio to technical equipment and medical assistance, every aspect is guaranteed by the organization at the highest levels of quality. Further services are available for athletes on request, from hotel accommodation to the bike setup after the race, or even the massages after the effort.

In addition, in collaboration with Tourissimo – Active Travel in Italy, Apenninica offers packages for those willing to accompany the bikers without racing, with the possibility to move easily and discover the beauty and atmosphere of the Emilian Apennines.


The promotion of the territory, and the Emilian Apennines in particular, in the perspective of summer and outdoor tourism, is one of the main purposes for Appenninica, and in this sense no better companion could be found than Parmigiano Reggiano.

Title sponsor from the start, the most famous Italian cheese in the World comes to life right in the areas crossed by the athletes of the Apenninica. Parmigiano Reggiano will lead a journey at the discovery of genuineness and authentic tastes, to be found at the feed zones along the route and as well as every night at dinner. All the efforts of the athletes will be paid back by the warm welcome of the Emilian cuisine.


At the start of the Apennines there will also be an official “Parmigiano Reggiano” team, led by experienced Italian cross-country athlete Andrea Tiberi, who took part in the Rio Olympics, now looking for new challenges in his last season as a professional biker. In addition to him, several more remarkable riders are expected in Porretta Terme, with a bigger international participation comparing with the debut season.

Among those who have already confirmed his participation in the event, there are the winners of the teams classification of last year, Dutchmen Maurits Buist and Henk Bos, Italian Lorenzo De Sanctis, third in 2019 in the solo classification, and Mirko Pirazzoli, also a former cross country specialist and now active in the Marathon activity.


To take part in Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race you need to register online on the official website:

Until Saturday, February 29th, 2020, it will be possible to enroll for a lower price, while the period of late registration will open from March the 1st until May 30th (or max number).

Ph. E. Melchiori


Appenninica mountain bike Stage Race lays the cards on the table and unveils the details of the 2019 race course. The Prologue, still secret, will be announced during a press conference on the 3rd of December in Bologna.

During the last two weeks seven of the eight stages of Appenninica MTB Stage Race have been revealed, one by one. The race will be in its first edition and for the first time in the history of the sport will see the participants crossing the whole Emilia Romagna region along the Apennines watershed –  about 550 km in length and with 20,000 meters of elevation gain – roughly following the route of Alta Via dei Parchi.

However, the launch of the race course is not yet complete, as the Prologue still has to be revealed: it will be unveiled, finally, during the press conference on the 3rd of December in Bologna, when the itinerary and all involved locations will be announced too.

The Prologue –  time to let something leak – will really make for an amazing show in a unique and special setting, something that will leave everyone speechless. But it will also give the participants the first chance of getting the measure of the field of competitors. The result of this very first round, as a matter of fact, will help to establish the line-up at the start line of the following day’s stage (Stage 1).

The feedback on the race course the organizers of Appenninica MTB have been receiving up to now is exactly what they were hoping for, and worth a competition that is going to find its place in the international panorama amongst the best stage races.

The race course is going to be tough and challenging – that’s for sure – but at the same time it will be fast-rolling and for the most part rideable, with a good mix of intense stages and easier days, and techy trails that will alternate with sections where legs and sheer power will make the difference.

During the first half of the race the high-mountain terrain will dictate the rules of the game; a difficult ground, with long passes and serious gradients. The race course will make its way across magnificent woods of beech trees, throughout meadows and along high-altitude ridges. The stages of the second half of the competition will take the participants over lower hilly ground, on a limestone and clayish type of terrain covered with woods of oaks that gradually give way to ancient chestnut trees and conifers.

Appenninica MTB is a unique adventure of its kind, a journey throughout 5 Regional Nature Parks and 2 National Parks, an immersion in the ancient roots of this part of the country, an experience for the senses in a region that boasts an extraordinary culinary heritage and plenty of renowned spas.

Seven different municipalities will play host to the event, and no less than 21 feeding zones will be arranged along a race course that will run above 1,000 meters of elevation for 60% of its length, with breathtaking views, forests and enchanted lakes.

Great work and consideration have been put into the choice of the race course, bearing in mind the natural context the event will take place in. Appenninica organizers in close collaboration with IMBA Italia (International Mountain Bicycling Association) are working on creating a round table with the representatives of the Parks and with Emilia Romagna’s section of CAI (Italian Alpine Club). The aim is to draw up a ‘low-impact Appenninica‘ protocol that will make possible to go through the experience  and participate in a top-notch competition with the smallest possible environmental impact.

Find here further info about the Stages.


More pictures here

Credits: Edoardo Melchiori |

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