Nash has always used CrossVegas to kick off her season, and comes back for a home course win at the World Cup. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

Nash has always used CrossVegas to kick off her season, and comes back for a home course win at the World Cup. © Lasala Images / Cyclocross Magazine

LAS VEGAS – Once the sun set over Las Vegas, the World Cup racing began for the first time in the United States, with women from 15 different countries represented at the start line. The wind picked up as wicked as ever, cooling off the course for some Fall conditions in Nevada.

In the first lap, Sanne van Paassen of the Netherlands and Gabby Durrin of the United Kingdom had phenomenal starts, leading the pack until they both gave way to Eva Lechner of Italy, who proved in the World Cup in Hoogerheide last year that she could attack early and carry a furious pace until the end.

CrossVegas World Cup 2015. © Cyclocross Magazine

Sanne Cant persisted with the lead group at the CrossVegas World Cup 2015. © Cyclocross Magazine

Unlike last year, where many of the top riders formed a large group within the first lap, in this year’s World Cup, a small group of five riders were able to break off early, which included Van Paassen, Lechner, Catharine Pendrel of Canada, Katerina Nash of the Czech Republic, and Sanne Cant of Belgium.

A large group of Americans, along with other big international riders, soon formed a chase group only seconds behind. Katie Compton, Meredith Miller, Crystal Anthony, Kaitlin Antonneau, Georgia Gould and Amanda Miller were some of the big domestic names who had a mind to reattach themselves to the front before the leaders pulled away.

The start of both races were fast and compact, but they didn’t stay that way for long. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

The start of both races were fast and compact, but they didn’t stay that way for long. © Lasala Images / Cyclocross Magazine

Meanwhile, the lead group was able to shed Van Paassen and whittle themselves down to four riders, with Nash and Pendrel riding in the form they showed the year before as both of them had been in the lead group of four in 2014. The Canadian seemed to take the major pulls at the top of the course, while Lechner broke to the front down below in the bowl. Gould and Compton both were able to reconnect with the lead group momentarily, but only Gould was able to make her efforts stick.

CrossVegas World Cup 2015. © Cyclocross Magazine

Eva Lechner continued to push the pace all race. © Cyclocross Magazine

However, no rider was equipped to handle the attack that Nash was preparing with two laps to go. On the sweeping climbs near the back, which were more serpentine than in the course designs for years past, Nash vaulted herself forward. Cant moved forward to lead the chasing group, but by the time she tried to react, Nash was already nine seconds ahead of the rest of the pack.

“At first I really didn’t want to keep punching it,” Nash told Cyclocross Magazine after the race, “but someone said that I had a gap and so I decided to go for it.”

CrossVegas World Cup 2015. © Cyclocross Magazine

Georgia Gould bridged up to the leaders, and was rewarded as the first American across the line. © Cyclocross Magazine

Lechner recounted the attack: “Yeah, we were looking at each other, and nobody was going. And so then I tried to attack, and luckily the others were looking at each other and I was able to go.”

Nash had brought on a chain reaction of attacks and counter-attacks throughout the former lead group, and the Italian was the second to benefit from an early gamble. “I am pretty happy with the race today,” Lechner continued, “especially because I just came over from Europe yesterday. I didn’t know how it would go, but I had a good start today and I am really happy.”

CrossVegas World Cup 2015. © Cyclocross Magazine

Compton found good form surging to the leaders halfway through the race, but couldn’t hold the effort. © Cyclocross Magazine

Nash and Lechner were able to hold their sizable gaps over the chasers until the end, and only the battle for third was as filled with high-tense drama as expected at CrossVegas. The two Luna riders, Gould and Pendrel were leading Cant around the last lap, but in the end, the Belgian was able to get the best of the group, outkicking her rivals for the final place at the podium.

CrossVegas marks Cant’s first race in the United States. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

CrossVegas marks Cant’s first race in the United States. © Lasala Images / Cyclocross Magazine

“This course is really heavy,” Cant said of CrossVegas. “This was my first race,  so it was difficult but I am happy I was here… it looks hard, but you don’t roll so fast [on it]. I tried my best, the other two were stronger, so I’m happy with third place.” As for enjoying any time in America, the Belgian reported that she wants to go shopping and enjoy Las Vegas on Thursday.

And as for Nash? “I think I’m going down in the history books,” she laughed as the first winner of a World Cup hosted outside Europe. We asked her if she would be raising the expectation level of her season after this result, to which she replied, “No, I can quit now, I’ve done enough!”

Notes: The United States was granted 17 spots for the women’s race, but only started 16. It appears Elizabeth White may not have started. Amanda Naumann was the first alternate, but did not hear of an opening.

Stay tuned for a full Lasala Images photo gallery. Don’t miss our 2015 CrossVegas men’s report, won by youngster Wout van Aert.

2015 CrossVegas World Cup results - Elite Women

1Katerina NASHCZE3849:17:00200
2Eva LECHNERITA3049:32:00160
3Sanne CANTBEL2549:55:00140
4Georgia GOULDUSA3549:55:00120
5Catharine PENDRELCAN3549:55:00110
6Sanne VAN PAASSENNED2750:07:00100
7Crystal ANTHONYUSA3550:08:0090
8Meredith MILLERUSA4250:11:0080
9Maghalie ROCHETTECAN2250:12:0070
10Amanda MILLERUSA2950:18:0060
11Katherine COMPTONUSA3750:37:0058
12Ellen VAN LOYBEL3550:48:0056
13Courtenay MCFADDENUSA3050:57:0054
14Helen WYMANGBR3451:00:0052
15Caroline MANIFRA2851:04:0050
16Kaitlin ANTONNEAUUSA2351:06:0048
17Sunny GILBERTUSA3651:26:0046
18Rachel LLOYDUSA4051:39:0044
19Ellen NOBLEUSA2051:44:0042
20Loes SELSBEL3051:50:0040
21Erica ZAVETAUSA2652:13:0039
22Aida NUNO PALACIOESP3252:20:0038
23Lisa JACOBSAUS3452:26:0037
24Lucie CHAINEL-LEFEVREFRA3252:38:0036
25Sophie DE BOERNED2552:39:0035
26Carolina GÓMEZARG2352:42:0034
27Hannah PAYTONGBR2152:51:0033
28Mical DYCKCAN3353:03:0032
29Cassandra MAXIMENKOUSA3253:07:0031
30Arley KEMMERERUSA3153:28:0030
31Jessica CUTLERUSA3653:33:0029
32Gabriella DURRINGBR3153:41:0028
33Sidney McGILLCAN1654:11:0027
34Natasha ELLIOTTCAN3755:01:0026
35Laura VERDONSCHOTBEL1955:19:0025
36Laurel RATHBUNUSA1955:28:0024
37Anna SCHAPPERTCAN2455:35:0023
38Amira MELLORGBR1856:36:0022
39Ashley BARSONCAN2556:40:0021
40Siobhan KELLYCAN1957:22:0020
41Maria LarkinIRL2819
42Suzie GODARTLUX5318
43Josie SimpsonAUS4117
44Béatrice GODARTLUX2616
45Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURGDEN2715