A crowd estimated, by the organizers, to be almost 10,000 spectators, filled the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex in Las Vegas for the third edition of CrossVegas. With the largest international field of cyclocross racers ever assembled in the U.S. competing, the anticipated international battle of America versus the world never developed.
Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld) captured the Elite Mens race in a final sprint to the line against breakaway companion Chris Jones (Champion Systems) after the pair eluded chasers throughout the 60 minute race. The pair of Americans escaped from a group of favorites in the early minutes of the race.
“Huge.” said Driscoll. “This is definitely the biggest win of my career.”
A chase group of six riders contested the final podium spot and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike), also of the U.S. took the third place honors.
Three-time world champion Erwin Vervecken of Belgium emerged as the strongest foreign rider with a fifth place finish in the largest cyclocross race in America, followed by Christian Heule of Switzerland who was taken down by a lapped rider in the final time around the course. U.S. National Champion and two-time CrossVegas winner Ryan Trebon (KONA) finished sixth ending his hopes of remaining the only champion of event.
Tim Johnson told me to go up the road – words from winner Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld)
About bridging up to Jones. “I had a not super group start and I caught up to the lead group because I sat up when Chris got the gap and once I got up there. It’s pretty funny I was telling me teammates ‘Sorry I’m late’ and they just told me to keep on going so I just kept going, rolling to the early move and take the pressure off them. Jones and I got right down to business, you probably saw that we worked pretty well together to keep the other guys off, wait for our chance in the last two laps if we were that lucky. ”
About the gap. “In the pit, it was pretty easy to tell where there are places on the course that lap over on itself, it’s pretty easy to tell. I noticed throughout the night the gap would go down, and then everyone would sit up and it would go up again, a yo-yo effect.”
About racing against the Europeans. “I think we were actually having this discussion with the team, we get beat up so much over there in Europe and I think a big part of it is that they grew up on those courses, every detail there is to know about them whereas as here we know our courses as well so maybe they weren’t used to the extremely negative surge and let up technique. Over there the pace is continually hard and it really strings out the strongest riders but here all the Americans have a chance to rest and so when the European try to make a move, all the Americans are fresh and can jump on them and not let them get a gap.”
About the finale. “There were plenty of doubts [of making it to the finish] until the second to last or last lap for sure. You can never underestimate the strength of all the guys in the bunch that are well-rested. It’s not your typical road sprint where we are most normally paired but I was just used the terrain of the course, the tricky sections to get most of of my gap and give it everything after that. ”
Not bad for a roadie – words from second-place Chris Jones (Champion Systems)
About his move. “I knew that I had to get out in front of everyone early and just use my strength which is my power. I got out in front and then I saw Jamey was coming across and waited for him, his teammates were kind of holding the chase up, they were not working together behind us and Jamey and I worked together equally until the end, he outsprinted me, it was a good race.”
About making to the finish. “My mechanic was giving me the gaps, I knew we were holding it steady and I knew if we just kept it rolling it would be okay. He launched in the last hairpin turn, he cornered better through.”
Happy. “It’s the only time that all of our sponsors will be here, so its good to show off the great equipment that we have from all our sponsors. I’m happy to do well. I’m happy with second, not bad for a roadie, huh?
Roadie. “I do this because I love cyclocross. I kind of milk my road fitness as long as I can, once it starts getting muddy it’s a different story, this is the perfect course for me. I love the sport and as long as I’m having fun, I’ll keep on doing it. I’ll still go to Nationals, I’d like to make top 10, so I could do both top 10 roadie and cross Nationals.”
In a repeat of the 2008 CrossVegas podium U.S. National Champion and the 2008 CrossVegas winner Katie Compton (Planet Bike) rolled away from the international field of women to build a lead of 89 seconds at the end of the 40 minute race. Czech rider Katerina Nash (Luna) repeated her second place podium with her teammate Georgia Gould rounding out the third spot.
I just knew I had to stay on it – words from winner Katie Compton (Planet Bike)
“I didn’t really have a game plan going into it. I know which riders to look out for and I know what their strengths and weaknesses are so I have an idea what’s going to happen if someone attacks. I kept the gap going after Katerina crashed and that opened it up. It’s really hard to chase on this course, once you have the gap, I just knew I had to stay on it.”
Once she got a gap. “I didn’t know if she was going to come back but I heard my gap growing each lap, I just settled in and made sure I had a little something in the tank in case I needed a little kick in the end if they caught me. It was good, it worked out.”
About the course. “It’s a really fast cross course, not a typical cross course. In the desert, there is only so much to work with, but it’s hard nonetheless. The grass is really hard to ride through, it doesn’t look like it but it’s really thick, like a sponge, so you’re pushing really hard and you think you’re going fast but it’s feels like I’m racing in slow motion.”
It was awesone – words from third-place Georgia Gould (Luna)
Team tactics. “I haven’t had much of a break from my mountain bike season, Katerina has had a few weeks so she’s been able to stay at home, prepare a little bit more. We’re really lucky in our team, usually we have pretty similar fitness and a lot of times we can ride together and use our team tactics but today she was just way stronger than me so I just had to be happy with my own pace.”
Battle for third. “Kelli caught me and it was a battle to the end man, it was so awesome. I haven’t gone that hard is a long time where it’s just so close, it’s not someone catches you and it’s like exponential, ‘I can stay with that’, you go and then [you think] ‘I could drop her’, but she’s still there. It was to the end ‘am I going to be able to do this?'”
4 laps of throwing punches. “I was faster on all the runup sections so I would get a little ga and try to keep it but she’d just stand up and monster back on my wheel. You could really draft so I didn’t want to pull her around so I’d slow down and she’s kind of go and I’d wonder ‘is she really pulling?’ or … then she’s attack. It was awesome.”