Christian Helmig grabs the money at CrossVegas 2012. ©Thomas van Bracht / Cyclocross Magazine

Christian Helmig grabs the money at CrossVegas 2012. ©Thomas van Bracht / Cyclocross Magazine

Viva CrossVegas! It’s almost here, with almost everyone in Las Vegas for Interbike counting the hours until the big race. And in typical Las Vegas-style, we’re bringing you a “fight card” of some of the noteworthy racers who will be getting called up under the lights this Wednesday night. Place your bets, ladies and gentleman, because the fighting is about to get fierce as cyclocross season really gets underway and the clash of the titans begins.

Elite Men:

 

The out-of-towners:

  • From Japan: Yoshitaka Hama
  • From Belgium: Quinten Hermans, Wout Van Aert, and Tim Van Nuffel

 

The question is: What does it mean for CrossVegas, having Sven Nys come out to race? And perhaps more important, what happens if he doesn’t win? The psyche of American cyclocross and fan devotion seems to keep Nys on a pedestal, and what happens if that pedestal is toppled? The power course that is CrossVegas is far from ideal conditions for the Belgian known for his great technical abilities, but if an American unseats him, will that change the way fans stateside will look at Nys, and at elite-level cyclocross? Back in Issue 20, post-Worlds, we looked at the near-hero worship that happens around Nys and his win. If any other Euro had taken the win at Worlds, would Americans have been as overjoyed? Perhaps. But Nys winning was the perfect ending to the adventure that was Worlds in the US, and it almost seemed as though the story should stop there. But while we’re all thankful that Nys elected to race at least another year, it’s almost nail-biting to see if he can stay on top. No one wants to see a hero falter, but if an American can take down the King at CrossVegas, what does that mean?

Elite Women:

Let us know what you think, and who you’re putting money on, below in the comments!

Katerina Nash takes the barriers - and the win - at CrossVegas. Jon Suzuki

Katerina Nash takes the barriers—and the win—at CrossVegas in 2012. © Jon Suzuki

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