Van der Haar, Heule and Peters made CrossVegas 2011 a European affair. ©Cyclocross Magazine

Last year, Van der Haar, Heule and Peters made CrossVegas 2011 a European affair. ©Cyclocross Magazine

2011 CrossVegas winner and current U-23 World Champion Lars van der Haar of the powerhouse Rabobank – Giant Bicycles Team returns to defend his title at the cyclocross season opening race on September 19 in Las Vegas.

Van der Haar, of The Netherlands, won in 2011 over second placed Christian Heule of Switzerland and third placed Rob Peeters of Belgium. Van der Haar is a two-time World Champion in the Under 23 division but will be competing as an Elite pro during the upcoming season. Heule has since retired from competition but Peeters also returns to CrossVegas setting the stage for a possible rematch of the 2011 finish.

Joining Van der Haar will be two of his Rabobank-Giant Bicycles Team teammates, Niels Wubben and Sanne van Paassen, both of The Netherlands. Wubben has had great success in both cyclocross and MTB racing including a bronze in the Dutch National Championships last January.

Paassen is a veteran of cyclocross and has multiple wins in World Cups, including the overall title for the 2010-2011 season. Van Paassen finished a strong fourth in the World Championships at Koksijde in January 2012.

Rabobank – Giant Bicycles Team spokesman Tom Davies commented, “We have always sent the best possible riders to CrossVegas, it’s our way of supporting cyclocross in the USA and bringing attention to our sponsor Giant Bicycles during Interbike.”

CrossVegas Race Director Brook Watts expressed his delight at the announcement, “I really appreciate how the team brings such great talent to open the season in Las Vegas. It’s especially enjoyable that Rabobank- Giant Bicycles is making the defending winner available.”

CrossVegas is the biggest cyclocross race outside of Europe taking place Wednesday evening September 19th. In its sixth year, the race takes place in front of 10,000 spectators at Desert Breeze Soccer Complex in Las Vegas.

Race Director Watts summed it up by saying “Cross fans should not miss the chance to watch van der Haar race, he is the future of the sport.”