In July 2019, the world of mountain bike stage races welcomed a new event in Italy – a challenging race nestled in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, a wild territory relatively unexplored by mountain biking enthusiasts. The declared goal was to unveil a different side of the Apennines to both national and, particularly, international audiences – similar to the most significant off-road stage events, from the Cape Epic downwards.
As it approaches its fifth edition, Appenninica MTB Stage Race has won its bet. Year after year, the number of participants has grown, luring an international contingent and athletes from various countries to take part in the stage race through the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, drawn by the opportunity to discover enchanting landscapes and test themselves on high-level technical MTB routes.
The Appenninica MTB Stage Race is set to continue along the same path, evident from the sold-out status reached two months before the official start. A total of 150 athletes from 24 Nations, representing 6 continents, will be at the starting line. Organized by ASD Happy Trail MTB, the race will cover over 400 km and 14,000 meters of elevation across six stages – from the departure in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (RE) to the arrival in Vidiciatico, a hamlet of Lizzano in Belvedere (BO).
The largest contingent comes from the Oranje team, with an impressive 33 athletes from the Netherlands. Following closely are Italians with 22 participants, and other nations with strong cycling traditions are also well represented: Belgium (19), Germany (9), the United Kingdom (8), the United States (7), and Denmark (6).
However, the fame of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race has reached far and wide, with athletes from Guatemala, South Africa, Israel, Argentina, Canada, and Australia also taking their places at the starting line of the next edition. This achievement certifies that the trails of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines are becoming increasingly attractive in the panorama of mountain bike stage races.
“Once again this year, the figures confirm the international nature of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race, with participants coming from all over the world,” state Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno, co-organizers of the event. “New Nations join us every year, while others expand their presence, and we are also very pleased to have a substantial group of Italian athletes at the start.“
APPENNINICA TEEN CAMP
From September 4th to 9th, alongside the stage race, a new project called Appenninica Teen Camp will also take place. This initiative is intended to involve young adolescents in an international and competitive sports environment characterized by the typical sports solidarity of stage races. A group of youngsters will experience the Appenninica MTB Stage Race from the inside, sleeping in tents supplied by Decathlon Italia, a sponsor of the initiative.
Every day, the young participants will wear different jerseys made by Respect Me, featuring awareness messages in support of cyclist safety. The Appenninica Teen Camp will provide an opportunity for them to engage in volunteer work, interact with formidable athletes and riders pushing their limits, while assisting the organization and providing support to everyone within the friendly atmosphere that characterizes the race.