by Brook Watts

Riders to Watch in the First Cyclocross Showdown of the Season

Cross Vegas 08

With a short week to go the field is almost set for the first cyclocross showdown of the season at CrossVegas. Both the men’s and women’s field will feature strong fields of competitors including many riders just off of a summer of racing including the Beijing Olympic Games and the just concluded Tour of Missouri.

CrossVegas takes place Wednesday September 24 at the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex in Las Vegas located a few miles from the famous “Vegas Strip.” Timed to take place during the Interbike trade show, CrossVegas attracted over 5,000 spectators in its first year in 2007.

The evening of racing kick off with the “Alpha Q Wheelers and Dealers Race” featuring bicycle industry participants vying for bragging rights in categories that include media, manufacturer, retailer, distributor and advocacy.

In the “Scott USA Elite Men’s Race” look for inaugural CrossVegas winner Ryan Trebon to bring his always strong form to Las Vegas where he will line up with fellow Kona strongman Barry Wicks. The duo used their collective strength last year to set up Trebon’s last lap attack that took him to victory.

Just a few of the others on the start line will be:

– Jonathan Page, silver medalist in the 2007 world championships now racing for the Planet Bike team

– Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers of the Cyclocrossworld.com Team, both coming from strong performances in the Tour of Missouri will be

– Adam Craig of Team Giant and Todd Wells of GT who are coming off of Beijing Olympic racing

– Tony Cruz of the BC Racing Team who just completed a strong road season that included the Tour of Missouri

Of special note is Thomas Frishknecht of the Scott-Swisspower Team who will be competing in the final event of his 19-year career. Frischknecht has selected CrossVegas as his final race in the U.S. with longtime sponsors Scott USA and Ritchey Design pitching in to throw a farewell celebration that promises to be unforgettable.

The “Scott USA Elite Women’s Race” will be without a returning champion with the retirement of Lyne Bessette but the talent pool will be just as deep. Katie Compton of the Spike Shooter team finished 2nd in the 2007 race and promises to start the new season equally strong.

Other riders to watch include:

– Luna Women’s Team riders Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould, finished 3rd and 4th last year and should be eager to challenge Compton for the top step of the podium

– Wendy Simms cracked the top ten in 2007 and should be eager to climb up the ranking

– Rachel Lloyd has consistently finished strongly in key events and will be closely watched

New to CrossVegas this year is the Double Down at Mandalay Bay award that will recognize those riders with a vacation prize for the top men and women riders who compete in both CrossVegas the USA CRITS Finals scheduled the next night.

CrossVegas (www.crossvegas.com) is owned by Cross Partners LLC, a Boulder Colorado based group headed by Chris Grealish and Brook Watts that stages international cyclocross events including CrossVegas. 2008 Sponsors include Alpha Q, Scott USA, Yakima, Clif Bar, Challenge Tires, TRP, Dale’s Pale Ale, VeloNews, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Vermarc and Clark County Parks Department.