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Chloe Woodruff, Russell Finsterwald, Rose Grant battle for $25K purse at Pikes Peak APEX

National mountain bike champion Chloe Woodruff and marathon national champions Rose Grant and Russell Finsterwald among many to attend the inaugural stage race in Colorado Springs.

On Thursday, the Pikes Peak Apex will become the first major stage in the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic.

The inaugural mountain bike will run from September 24-27 in Colorado Springs with a star-studded start list and a sizable prize purse. The event has an extensive COVID-19 mitigation plan in place, largely spearheaded by Dr Michael Roshon, who is both Apex’s medical director and USA Cycling’s chief medical officer.

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Amid the dearth of bike races in North America this year, the first-year event has attracted professional cyclists from several different disciplines which will create a unique battle between cyclocross, road, track, and mountain bike racers. Furthermore, there is a $25,000 prize purse to be split equally between the top 15 finishers in the men’s and women’s categories.

The start list includes numerous current and former national champions from various disciplines. Three riders from the Stan’s-Pivot Pro team, XC MTB national champion Chloe Woodruff, marathon MTB champion Rose Grant, and Evelyn Dong, will be lining up on Thursday. Joining them in the women’s field is 15-time national cyclocross champion Katie Compton, five-time French national champion Caroline Mani, and Sophia Arreola (Team Twenty20), who has 36 Mexican national titles to her name.

The men’s field boasts an equally impressive roster, including Colorado Springs local and marathon MTB national champion Russell Finsterwald from the Clif Pro Team, XTERRA world champion, Bradley Weiss, 2016 Junior Road Champion and former WorldTour rider Alexey Vermeulen. Other notable riders include High Cascades 100 winner Stefano Barberi, Giant Factory Team rider Cole Patton, and cyclocross standout Kerry Werner. RockShox-SRAM Downhill/Enduro pro Mitch Ropelato will add some flavor to the men’s field as he takes on the endurance riders at the event.

The mission of the event is to drive economic impact to the area in order to improve the trails and open space in the Pikes Peak region. The race benefits the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance’s Stewardship Fund which supports both existing and proposed trail systems in the Pikes Peak region.