Katie Compton (Spike Shooter) and Ryan Trebon (Kona) beat the heat, their toughest competition of the year, and the hype and distraction of Lance Armstrong’s attendance to win the second annual Cross Vegas UCI C1 race.
Compton, after a successful mountain bike season this summer which included the short track National Championship, started her first ‘cross race of the year tonight, and left off just where she ended her U.S. campaign in Kansas City last December – with a win. The hot and dry course through thick grass favored a powerful rider, and Compton quickly distanced herself from the field, with only two Luna riders in tow: Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould. Gould crashed after tripping on a barrier on the third lap, and Compton gassed it, permanently dropping the Luna-sponsored American.
Upfront, Nash and Compton pulled away, with Compton doing most of the work but looking very comfortable. But entering the last few turns, Nash was in command, leading Compton until taking the second to last turn a bit wide. That left the door open for Compton to get by and take her first Cross Vegas win. Gould kept her position to finish fifth.
In the men’s race, most of the pre-race attention was not on the world-class ‘cross riders assembled in Vegas for the first UCI C1 race of the year, but on the former world-class Tour de France rider Lance Armstrong’s (Livestrong) last-minute appearance. Flying straight from New York City, Armstrong used Cross Vegas as another step in his comeback from retirement.
Early in the race, a group of 15 riders quickly formed a lead pack, while Armstrong, starting from the fourth row, moved up quickly through the field and threatened to join the leading group until a hard crash caused him to lose time. Tim Johnson (Cannondale – Cyclocrossworld.com), Jonathan Page (Planet bike), Geoff Kabush (Litespeed – Maxxis), Adam Craig (Giant), Todd Wells (GT) and Trebon all traded attacks, but in what Trebon would describe as “negative racing”, nobody was really willing to work together to make a gap stick.
Craig surged to the front with four laps to go, and entering the barriers in the lead, he attempted to bunnyhop them and went over the bars. Page attempted his own attack, but it was matched by the others. With a lap and a half to go, Trebon finally took control, accelerating around a corner and quickly gapping the big group. Johnson and then Page gave chase, but Page’s earlier effort had cost him, as he couldn’t bridge to Johnson. Craig, recovering from the time lost from his bunnyhop crash, passed Page and set off in pursuit of Trebon and Johnson. But everyone had left it too late. The long straightaways and thick grass were to Trebon’s strength, and the powerful rider would continue to put time into Johnson and beat him by nearly 10 seconds at the finish to defend his last year’s title.
Armstrong, after a strong start, faded as the laps wore on and finished just outside the top 20 in 22nd.
Photo gallery from Joe Sales: