Montegrimano - Monte Cerignone - Carpegna - Novafeltria | Difficulty: Difficult, Distance: 82 Km, Altitude: 1747m
This circular itinerary of about 82 km explores the climbs and roads on which the unforgettable champion, Marco Pantani, used to train; a legend who maintained a high level of honour for Italian cycling in the world. The tour winds through towns and must-see panoramas, but what enthusiasts will especially appreciate is the atmosphere.
The descent down Monte Titano is via the Murata and Fiorentino face; quite a technical stretch that meanders through vegetation until reaching the Conca River valley in the town of Mercatino Conca. From here follow the route towards Montegrimano Terme, a village at 600 m.a.s.l. characterised by pure air and a mild climate, where a beach resort within a beautiful park is located, renowned for its alkaline and sulphurous waters.
The mediaeval Castle of Montefeltro, which still maintains its original position at the centre of the town that was the stronghold of the Dukes of Urbino, is reached via a steep climb surrounded by nature and silence. The climb ends in the town centre, but we recommend a ride around the walls; in good weather you can see the sea and the Romagna Riviera to the east, and the Monte Carpegna range to the west and, closer still, the unmistakable village of Monte Cerignone, the next stop on this tour.
The climb leading to this beautiful mediaeval village should definitely be tackled, so much so that every year it is included in the cycling portion of the now classic Triathlon Challenge-Rimini.
At this point you can enjoy a stop in front of the Rocca Feltresca fortress before tackling the most picturesque and challenging part of the tour.
The next stretch, up to the village of Carpegna, is along a slight, not particularly challenging, slope. The climb to the summit overlooking the district with an altitude of 1415 m.a.s.l. begins in the town of Carpegna.
The climb, known as the Cippo (commemorative stone), is about 6 km long and makes itself felt immediately, with an average gradient of 13%.
After a 2 km stretch motor vehicles can no longer access the road, at which point a monument in commemoration of the “Pirate” stands. It was on the hairpin turns of the Cippo that he prepared for the enormous feats that made him famous and loved by the public. In fact, in an interview he said, “Carpegna is enough for me (…) I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve trained on this climb”.
At this point the climb resumes in a decisive manner over a challenging and increasingly difficult stretch through dense woods, albeit on a well-paved road. The sections where you can catch your breath are few, until you exit the forest and the road levels out.
The view from here is breathtaking and continues for as far as the eye can see over Monte Titano, Monte Fumaiolo (where the Tiber River starts) and the Marecchia valley.
The peak of Monte Carpegna can be reached via an easier course that starts from the Cantoniera pass, but even though retracing the Pirate’s “steps” is undeniably hard work, it is also, above all, exciting and satisfying.
After descending from the summit, the course continues with a beautiful and minimally challenging ride within the Simone and Simoncello Sasso Regional Park, along the “triangle” that divides Emilia Romagna, Marche and Tuscany.
The only climb is the ascent to the Cantoniera pass, a short sprint that, after climbing the Cippo, will be a breeze.
On the descent from the mountain you come across the towns of Pennabilli, Ponte Molino Baffoni (where you can replenish your water supply at the fountain) and Novafeltria, then resume along Via Marecchiese and return to San Marino, passing the state line in Gualdicciolo.
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