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

As the sun went down, the level of racing notched up in Las Vegas this Wednesday night. Another Cross Vegas, the unofficial kickoff to the cyclocross season in the US, is in the books, and this one has the distinction of being the first ever Cross Vegas to feature a current World Champion, Sven Nys (see his pre-race thoughts from our exclusive interview). While MTBers dominated Elite races this evening, the men’s and women’s races played out in completely different ways, though both ended with a solo breakaway, eliminating the nail-biting sprint finishes that have characterized Vegas racing in years past.

Nash Plays Keepaway with Americans

As Elvis sang God Bless America, crowds jostled for the best views of the start of the women’s race. The women started fast in the race to the first corner and barriers, but as Georgia Gould would later explain, the pace slowed a bit and the first two laps saw the course resembling a road criterium, with what could only be described as a peloton of nearly 25 women at the front of the race. With a mostly American pack, would this be the year the Cross Vegas women’s title would go to a domestic rider?

Katerina Nash (Luna Chix) leads CrossVegas early and late. © Cathy Fegan-Kim, Cyclocross Magazine

Katerina Nash (Luna Chix) leads CrossVegas early and late. © Cathy Fegan-Kim, Cyclocross Magazine

With three laps to go, Nash decided that it was time to attack, and immediately created a gap on the field. “It was a really tactical race,” she told us afterwards. “I didn’t want to go too early and have eight people catch me. I’m not sure what happened behind me. I saw a tiny gap and decided it was the right time to keep the pace high.”

Two flyovers made the course a bit more challenging than just thick grass. © Cathy Fegan-Kim

Two flyovers made the course a bit more challenging than just thick grass. © Cathy Fegan-Kim