Both races of the 2012 edition of CrossVegas, America’s first UCI C1 ranked cyclocross event of the season, finished with a dominating show of force from riders who claimed their first ever CrossVegas victory. In the women’s event, it was Dutchwoman Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank-Giant), who sprung with half a lap to go to take a decisive victory.
“It was pretty, pretty hard.” van Paassen said about the fifth and final lap. “My legs were burning, I didn’t know, it was unbelievable.”
She loved her first experience of racing under the lights in Las Vegas and hopes to return to the United States for the Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY. “It’s beautiful! American people are yelling, shouting, it’s almost like Belgium. It will be nice to have the Worlds here.”
Van Paassen had to overcome some of the best riders America could throw at her en route to the victory. Attacks and counter attacks came thick and fast, but did little to whittle down a large leading group that stayed together for much of the race.
She added, “There were so many attacks and they were so hard. The course was very hard, I was waiting and I hoped that somebody else get the red jersey (Lea Davison) back, it was very hard.”
Many of the biggest names in the States had a go early in the race to try and unseat Van Paassen. The first was Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus), who was on the gas immediately and took out Milagro Tequila Whole Shot Award.
The biggest mover of the race’s first half was Now And Novartis For MS’ Alison Powers, who put her considerable road power to good use as she strung out the field for the better part of the second lap. Many riders could not hold her pace, and, little by little, the number of riders left in the lead group dwindled.
On the fourth lap, Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), fresh off of her bronze medal at the Olympic games in London, took her turn to attack, drawing out fellow Olympian Lea Davison (Specialized). At the Focus Stairs, Davison took a risk and stayed on her bike, electing to ride the obstacle rather than dismount and run. Riding the stairs gave her the advantage she was looking for, and soon enough, a few bike lengths became a few seconds, and the race’s first major escape had formed.
Behind, the chase was spearheaded by Gould, Amy Dombroski (Telenet Fidea), Gabriella Day (Rapha-Focus) and Kelli Emmett (Giant). By the time the leaders got the bell for the final lap, Davison still had 13 seconds in hand and looked like she could be on her way to victory.
It was Alison Powers who once again went to the head of the race to fire up the chase. Thanks to her efforts, the gap began to fall steadily. It looked, for a time, as if Davison may have stayed clear of the chasers, as she rode the stairs one last time and brought her lead back out slightly. Emmett, however, was on the scene and brought Davison’s excursion to a definitive end.
With just half a lap left to run, it was time for Van Paassen to unleash her final attack. Climbing her way up the Knog Hill, Van Paassen quickly put some space between herself and the chasers, and before long, the Rabobank-Giant rider was safely home and dry.
There were still medal placings to play for behind, as any of five riders could fill out the last two podium spots. The hero of the night’s main breakaway, Davison, managed to find a reserve of energy to take out the sprint ahead of Powers, Day Emmett and Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), with only six second separating first through sixth place.
Top 10 Women (Complete Results)
1. Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank Giant Off – Road Team 0:44:10
2. Lea Davison (USA) Specialized +00:01
3. Alison Powers (USA) Now And Novartis For MS +00:02
4. Gabriella Day (GBr) Rapha-Focus
5. Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant Bicycles +00:03
6. Meredith Miller (USA) Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized +00:06
7. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Béziers Méditerrané Cyclisme +00:24
8. Judy Freeman (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club +00:26
9. Amy Dombroski (USA) Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team +00:31
10. Mary McConneloug (USA) Team Kenda/Seven/Notubes +00:39