The Italian MTB race to take place from September 12th to 18th over seven stages, 450 km and 16.000 mt of elevation gain. Porretta Terme will host the departure, while the final stage in Castelnovo ne’ Monti will be a tribute to Dante’s Divina Commedia. Fanano, Lizzano in Belvedere and Cerreto Laghi are the other stage venues.

Appenninica MTB racecourse image

The Emilian Apennines might be covered in white these days, but it will not take too long before bikers from all over the World are back to test themselves over some of the most charming routes in Europe. After the successful 2020 edition, Appenninica MTB Stage Race‘s OC looks with confidence and enthusiasm to the 2021 edition, to take place in the final days of Summer, from September 12th to 18th, 2021

A highly-demanding challenge over 450 kilometers and more than 16,000 meters in elevation gain will be tackled over seven stages, riding in the wild and unspoiled nature of the Emilian Natural Parks. With a unique landscape, the Apennine ridge will guarantee an immersion in the authentic Italian atmosphere and culture, enriched by the genuine hospitality of Emilia-Romagna

In 2021, Appenninica will count on five different stage venues, located in three provinces: BolognaModena and Reggio Emilia. Lizzano in Belvedere (Bologna) and Cerreto Laghi (Reggio Emilia) are the new entries among the confirmed venues of Porretta Terme (Bologna), Fanano (Modena) and Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia). The 2021 Appenninica MTB Stage Race route will combine technical trails with scenic and smoother sections. The Appenninica course will also visit three different renowned Winter Sports resorts, now more and more committed towards the summer and outdoor sports offer: Corno alle ScaleMonte Cimone and Cerreto Laghi.

Photo by The Outdoor Lab

On Sunday, September 12th, Porretta Terme will host the first stage once again: an individual time trial, and also a tribute to the Porretta Soul Festival, one of the most renowned music events in the area. Also starting from Porretta, the second stage will offer a first taste of the real Apennines, passing by the Lake Scaffaiolo and climbing to the Corno alle Scale. Briefly trespassing into Tuscany, the stage will finish in Lizzano in Belvedere, the hometown of the late renowned Italian journalist and writer Enzo Biagi (1920-2007). 

On Tuesday, September 14th, Lizzano will give the start to a brand-new third stage, ending in Fanano. The first part of the route will ride along the Gothic Line – the battlefield of the partisan liberation battles during World War II -, while the finale will take place on fast and fun trails inside the Cimone Bike Park

The “Pippo Yeah!” stage, charted by famous trail builder Pippo Marani, will return after last year’s success on Wednesday, September 15th, starting and finishing in Fanano. On Thursday, September 16th, the Queen Stage will also start from the mountain town in the Province of Modena: following the 2020 Queen Stage route in the first section, the stage climbs up to the highest point of the race located on the Monte Cimone (1855 mt), on the way to reach the finish in Cerreto Laghi. 

On Friday, September 17th, an entertaining stage, running entirely inside the Tuscan-Emilian National Park – awarded with the MaB Unesco for its extraordinary biodiversity -, will take the riders to Castelnovo ne’ Monti, the last stage venue of Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2021. In fact, the race will be decided on Saturday, September 18th in the shadow of the iconic Bismantova Rock, the symbol of Appenninica. Named “Purgatory stage”, the last effort pays tribute to Italian poet Dante, and who – according to the legend – drew inspiration from the Bismantova Rock to create his purgatory, on the 700th anniversary of the Sommo Poeta’s passing. The loop course will pass through Fonti di Poiano, Gessi Triassici and the Grancontessa Matilde di Canossa’s territories.

Photo by The Outdoor Lab

For the 2021 edition, we decided to stick with the same successful formula of last year, while seeking an even better balance between shorter, more technical stages and longer, faster ones. The evocative Appennine ridge will be a standout protagonist once again, and we will touch three ski resorts that are increasingly committed to mountain biking and summer tourism – something even more significant in times like these. We are happy to welcome the new stage locations of Lizzano in Belvedere and Cerreto Laghi, which will offer new beauties and scenarios to this great adventure” said the organizers Beppe Salerno and Milena Bettocchi.  


Stage 1 – Porretta Soul – Sunday, September 12th: Porretta Terme – Porretta Terme

Stage 2 – Il Corno – Monday, September 13th: Porretta Terme – Lizzano in Belvedere

Stage 3 – Gold Rush – Tuesday, September 14th: Lizzano in Belvedere – Fanano

Stage 4 – Pippo Yeah – Wednesday, September 15th: Fanano – Fanano

Stage 5 – High Mountain Queen – Thursday, September 16th: Fanano – Cerreto Laghi

Stage 6 – Park & Roll – Friday, September 17th: Cerreto Laghi – Castelnovo ne’ Monti

Stage 7 – The Purgatory Saturday, September 18th: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Castelnovo ne’ Monti


As in 2020, the organizing committee chose to allow only individual participation without the pairs format. In the “Early Bird” phase, until January 31st, a maximum of 55 athletes can register at a reduced price. From this season the organizers also offer a payment plan in three installments. For further information:

With Appenninica’s trails riding through regional and national parks, in order to avoid the course’s overcrowding and provide the best possible experience, the organizers opted to set a maximum number of 150 registered athletes.