The Appenninica 2023 kickoff takes place under the Bismantova Rock

The mention of Bismantova Rock immediately brings to mind the Appenninica MTB Stage Race. The places that were once fiefdoms of Matilda of Canossa serve as the home territory for this mountain bike stage race in the Emilia-Romagna ApenninesCastelnovo ne’ Monti has hosted at least one stage of Appenninica every year and is now preparing to hold the 2023 edition, scheduled for September 4-9, 2023.

This town in the Reggio Emilia province, made famous by the Bismantova Rock that inspired Dante’s Purgatory, will host the preliminary operations of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023, starting on Sunday, September 3rd, with the arrival of the athletes. Also on that date, there will be Appenninica Lovers, a meeting open to all and dedicated to amateur cyclists on the route of the first stage race.

The official start is scheduled for Monday, September 4, with an opening loop stage covering 57 kilometers and featuring 1900 meters of total elevation gainLa Matildica is a deceptively challenging section with long climbs and highly technical descents. The athletes will face a downhill single trail to cross the Tresinaro River before climbing towards Carpinete Castle. The striking passage under the iconic Bismantova Rock will precede the athletes’ return to Castelnovo ne’ Monti.

Finding the right rhythm with Appenninica will be crucial because, on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, the extremely demanding Mountain Queen Stage is scheduled. Covering 89 kilometers and featuring 3250 meters of elevation gain, this stage will start from Castelnovo ne’ Monti and reach Fiumalbo, offering breathtaking views and a route mostly above 1500 meters of altitude. The route will include challenging sections such as the Cisa Pass, the Mount Cusna area, and the Radici Pass before reaching Pievepelago via a single track.

Castelnovo ne’ Monti welcomes the Appenninica MTB Race again this year with great pleasure. Among the many sporting events that we will host in the summer as a ‘town for sport,’ Appenninica holds great importance due to its international dimension, and mountain biking has experienced exponential growth in recent years. There are numerous fans who ride our roads and trails, appreciating and enhancing our territory and its environmental quality,” says Enrico Bini, the mayor of Castelnovo ne’ Monti.


Castelnovo ne’ Monti and the surrounding territories are rich in history and magic, starting with the Bismantova Rock. According to tradition, this rock inspired Dante’s Purgatory during the poet’s stay in 1306, as mentioned in Canto IV of the Divine Comedy’s Purgatory. The Castelnovo area also boasts several fortresses and castles that were once part of the reign of Matilda of Canossa between 1000 and 1100 AD.

The medieval town’s historical center is definitely worth a visit. It has been renovated in recent years, offering truly characteristic views. One of these views is the Palazzo Ducale, located amidst the green gardens of Bagnolo. Built by the Este family as a symbol of their domination over the territory, it now serves as Castelnovo’s City Hall.

The Appenninici – Lillo Lenzi, in love with the Apennines

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race are many stories of sports and life. Lillo Lenzi, who took part in the 2023 edition at the age of 70, fulfilled his ambition to complete the adventure on the trails of Emilia-Romagna’s Apennines, which have been his home for many years

The Appenninici – From rugby to mountain biking: the unique journey of Sophie Halhead

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race many stories of sport and life can be found. Sophie Halhead, who made her second experience in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines in 2023 after taking part in the debut edition, recounts her transition from rugby to the world of mountain biking.

Third time’s the charm: Hans Becking returns to Appenninica for the hat trick

First Elite Man to win two editions of Appenninica MTB Stage Race, the Dutch defending champion of BUFF-Megamo will go for the hat trick from September 2 to 7, 2024. “This race has won my heart,” says Becking.

The Appenninica 2024 route: kicking off in Bologna with 14,000 meters of elevation gain

The organizers have unveiled the route for the MTB stage race, scheduled from September 2 to 7. Confirmed stage venues include Lizzano in Belvedere, Fiumalbo, and Castelnovo ne’ Monti for the grand finale, with Loiano making its debut this year. Participants will face a total of 400 km and 14,000 meters of elevation gain

The Appenninici – An Olympic champion discovers Appenninica

Among the protagonists of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race are many stories of sport and life. Miguel Martinez, Mountain Biking gold medallist at Sydney 2000, participated in the 2023 edition and was impressed by the routes and landscapes of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines and the familiar atmosphere of the race

From Tour the France to the MTB: Appenninica 2024 to kick off in Bologna

The main town of Emilia-Romagna is poised to inaugurate the sixth edition of Appenninica MTB Stage Race on September 2, 2024. Bathed in the afterglow of the Tour de France’s visit in July, the MTB challenge is set to bring more cycling emotions to the city

Appenninica MTB Stage Race Adventure Returns from September 2 to 7, 2024

The renowned MTB stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines confirms its six-day format, announcing its schedule for the 2024 season. Early Bird registration commences on December 1

Becking and Piana conquer Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023

The Dutch rider of Buff-Megamo is the first male athlete to win two editions of Appenninica MTB Stage Race. Becking sealed the overall win by raising arms again in the last stage, followed by Tiago Ferreira and Tim Smeenge, who join him on the podium in second and third position respectively. Debora Piana takes the women’s GC, while Ilina triumphs again in Vidiciatico. “We are really proud of the athletes’ feedback” said the organizers

Happy day for DMT Racing Team in Vidiciatico. Becking and Piana keep the lead

Tiago Ferreira went all-in in the penultimate stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race from Fanano to Vidiciatico, trying to pursue the leader’s jersey, but Becking kept everything under control. Same plot in the women’s category, with Russian Kristina Ilina taking her second win and Piana in control

Appenninica’s colour is Orange: Smeenge and Becking the stars of stage 4

The Dutch MTB Marathon National champion raises hands in Fanano, while Becking increases his gap in the GC on Tiago Ferreira. Debora Piana keeps dominating and makes it three in a row. Tomorrow, September 8th, the penultimate stage of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023 runs from Fanano to Lizzano in Belvedere

Becking and Piana strenghten their lead in Fiumalbo

The two leaders got the second win at Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2023. The Dutch rider of Buff-Megamo Team sprinted over Tiago Ferreira, while things are getting spicy for the bronze medal, with four riders fighting for the third position. In the women’s field, the Italian of Team Cingolani-Specialized secured the leader jersey with another success in Fiumalbo over Ilina. Tomorrow, September 7th, the peloton heads to Fanano

Ferreira and Piana tame the Mountain Queen Stage

The Portuguese athlete of DMT Racing Team answered back to Becking’s success in the opening stage, while Tronconi and Smeenge remain in contention behind them. Debora Piana took the win and the lead in the women’s category. Tomorrow, September 6th, marks the first-ever border crossing from Emilia-Romagna to Tuscany for the race, with the stage starting and finishing again in Fiumalbo