Now that cyclocross season is almost underway, or already begun for those of you who already getting their feet wet with unsanctioned races, we wanted to come back to our weekly cyclocross roundup.

Although we didn’t set an exclusive story below, we’ve heard rumors from our European correspondent, Christine Vardaros, that Niels Albert is starting his own bike shop. He even has a location all set from an old furniture store. Anyone have good shop names for him to use?

Sven Nys and Lars Van der Haar Set to Meet in Vegas

Lars Van der Haar of the Netherlands, currently the top ranked cyclocross racer in the world, will be facing the second ranked Sven Nys of Belgium at CrossVegas.

Sven Nys celebrates with his American fans with a commanding win at the Clif Bar Cross Vegas 2013. © Cyclocross Magazine

Sven Nys celebrates with his American fans with a commanding win at the Clif Bar Cross Vegas 2013. © Cyclocross Magazine

Van der Haar is a CrossVegas veteran who has raced the event three times, including a victory in the 2011 edition.  The Shimano-Giant racer will be opening his season after the overall win of the World Cup Series last year.  Van der Haar commented on his CrossVegas plans, “I will be racing CrossVegas now for the fourth time, I won it once and now I want a second win.”

Nys is also a former winner of CrossVegas.  The Crelan-AA Drink racer took the victory in 2013 while wearing the World Champion’s rainbow-striped jersey.  Said Nys of his plans, “I had a great time racing CrossVegas last season, I was pleased to win but more than that – I enjoyed the exciting atmosphere and the big crowds.  It is a great spectacle for our sport and an important early season race on the world calendar.”

The Belgian National Champion will be racing on his new black Trek Boone cyclocross bikes that were just unveiled. See our profile of his cantilever and disc brake bikes here.

The Stage is Set for the UCI Race in China

Our elite racing contributor, Christine Vardaros, filled us in on the happenings in China. Thijs Al will be coming out of retirement for this one race in order to defend his title from last year.

French rider Steve Chainel, who rode professionally on the road Ag2r-La Mondiale for the last two seasons, looks like he will be the rider to beat. The 30-year-old may get his birthday present a week early this year if he can pull off a win over Al, last year’s third place Justin Lindine, Ryan Trebon, new KCCX signee Zach McDonald and the rest of the field. Stay tuned for a preview of the race in China, and a full start list, as like last year, we’ve got a full American contingent making the adventurous trek to the Far East.

China's first UCI men's podium. Jouffroy, Al, and Lindine. Elite Men, Qiansen Trophy UCI C2 Cyclocross Event. © Cyclocross Magazine

China’s first UCI men’s podium. Jouffroy, Al, and Lindine. Elite Men, Qiansen Trophy UCI C2 Cyclocross Event. © Cyclocross Magazine

On the women’s side, Ellen Van Loy, ranked sixth in the world, has a solid chance to win, but will have to contend with Lucie Chainel. Margriet Kloppenberg will return to defend her title, flying in the day before the race and flying out the night of the race so she can be back in time for a road stage race in France that starts September 2. Christine Vardaros will also be there, both to catch the action and enter the racing fray.

ABUS Mobile Security Creating First-Time Bike Valet During CLIF Bar CrossVegas

You read that right. Spectators looking to ride to CrossVegas will have the opportunity to valet their bikes through ABUS.

“We are thrilled to be working with CrossVegas on making getting to the race even more bike friendly,”said ABUS Marketing Manager Joan Hanscom.  “There is an excellent route to the race via the bike lane on Twain Avenue.  It takes riders all the way from The Strip to the race where you’ll be able to leave your bike in a staffed, secured bike parking corral.  To make it even more attractive – anybody checking their bike into the bike parking will automatically be entered into a drawing to win ABUS prizes throughout the evening.”