Maxxis-sponsored riders took first place in every Pro race at Epic Rides Grand Junction Off-Road. Clif Pro Team’s Katerina Nash claimed the victory in both women’s races, while Yeti’s Geoff Kabush won the men’s crit, and Clif Pro’s Russell Finsterwald earned the men’s backcountry win. Held in Grand Junction, Colorado, the weekend was the second of four events in the Epic Rides series.
Nash took the first of her two victories at Friday’s Pro Fat Tire Crit, sprinting across the finish line with fellow Maxxis rider Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis’ Sofia Gomez Villafane in second place. Nash’s teammate Hannah Finchamp earned a spot in the top ten with sixth place, while Villafane’s teammate Rose Grant took tenth place.
Longtime Maxxis rider and racing legend Geoff Kabush won the men’s crit. Like all his competitors and all riders in the women’s crit, he raced the same bike that he would ride two days later in the backcountry race, outfitted with tires 38 mm or more.
In the 43-mile backcountry race, Nash took the front spot after the first few miles. Her lead had increased to five minutes by the end of the race, despite a highly technical course and nearly 6,000 feet of climbing. “I love the first half of the course; it’s just hard technical riding. I kind of had the same strategy all these years. I don’t attack into the hike-a-bike, but I hike it fast, and it puts people on the edge,” she told velonews.com. Villafane again took a spot on the podium with a third-place finish, while Pivot/Stan’s Evelyn Dong earned fourth place, Grant took fifth and Finchamp took eighth.
Finsterwald took the lead ten miles into the men’s race. He later allowed a small group, which included Kabush and fellow Maxxis rider Fernando Riveros, to catch him before making his way to a dominating lead on the longest climb of the race. “I just hit it as soon as we started climbing and got a gap,” Finsterwald told velonews.com. “I was kind of surprised I dropped them, but just decided to put my head down and go for it.” Kabush ultimately took second place and was pleased with his finish: “I’m psyched. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the podium in an Epic Rides event.” Finsterwald, meanwhile, was elated by his victory. “This is my first Epic Rides win, first win in the jersey…A lot of firsts! My first time leading the [Off-Road] series too. It’s awesome,” he said.
Clif Pro Team’s Ben Sonntag took fourth place in the men’s race, and CZ Racing’s Riveros took fifth place.
Maxxis congratulates Katerina Nash, Geoff Kabush, and Russell Finsterwald on their victories and thanks all of these riders for their fine performances.
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