Cyclocross World Champion Sven Nys put on a clinic to claim the win at the CLIF Bar Cross Vegas to the delight of the cheering crowd lining the course at the Desert Breeze Complex. Katerina Nash easily won the elite women’s race to become the only race to win the even three times.
Nys Flies Rainbow Stripes To The Win
“For me, it’s something special because the World Champion winning over here after I won the Worlds in the States, that’s amazing.” Nys (Crelan-Euphony) said of his first victory of the season. “They’ve done a hell of a job at Cross Vegas creating something special and I’m really happy with this victory.”
Solo at the end of the first lap, Nys was caught by Ryan Trebon (Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com) after a protracted chase that lasted two laps. The pair rode together, taking turns at the front to push the pace. Behind, Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) jumped away from the shattered field to give chase and slowly closed the gap. Halfway through the 60-minute race, with Powers only five seconds behind, Nys made another massive attack to power away to take his first victory of the cyclocross season.
“I felt myself really strong in the beginning and I thought the group was a little bit too big and sometimes that’s a problem when you’re sitting in fifth or sixth position and there is a crash so I tried something. I saw that Trebon was coming back but that’s not a big problem so then you can go with two guys halfway but I felt that I was the strongest and I made a gap.” Nys added.
Powers dropped Trebon to second. Canadian Cyclocross Champion Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing) caught and passed Trebon to take third.
“Not a bad guy to lose to, he is the World Champ. He timed it perfectly, he’s smart.” Powers commented. “When I got about five or six seconds, Sven attacked and immediately opened a big gap and there was zero chance of closing that today.”
Nash Makes It Three
With about half to go, Nash (Luna Pro Team) accelerated ahead of Lea Davison (Specialized Racing) Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) and Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) and rode solo to victory.
“I didn’t really attack,” stated Nash. “I somehow got a gap. I just wanted to keep the pace really high. I wanted the front group to get smaller. The pace was not super high. Meredith (Miller) was really active and was helping out but no one else was interested in helping.”
The gap between Nash and the Davison/Pendrel duo grew steadily from 5 to 10 to 20 seconds. Miller was chasing behind Davison and Pendrel with Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement), Gabby Day (Rapha-Focus) and Elle Anderson (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized).
“Once you commit to getting away you have to stick with it. I have done it before,” said Nash. “People have a hard time bringing it back. Luckily I was able to split up the group. The high pace really worked out to my advantage. Once I got away I wanted to keep the gap. That’s when the race really started to hurt.”
“Katerina was inching away from me and I was trying to claw my way back,” stated Davison. “At first it was seven seconds and I thought I was still in there. Then it went to 10 and 20 seconds and I was then thinking okay, we are now racing for second. I never gave up because you never know what’s going to happen. She was simply the stronger rider tonight. Hat’s off to Katerina. It was very cool today because it was three mountain bikers battling.”
Davison sprinted ahead of Pendrel for second.
“I missed racing Cross Vegas last year because I was injured,” said Nash. “I was standing here drinking a beer. I thought that this was kind of fun, but racing is a lot better. It feels great to be back.”