LAS VEGAS – In a strong repeat performance, Sven Nys (Crelan – AA Drink) definitively soloed to the finish line in tonight’s Cross Vegas. Nys launched a brutal solo attack out of a large group of riders that had stayed together for the duration of the race. Lars van der Haar (Giant) took up the chase, with US National Champion Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing), who had been carefully biding his time, following hotly behind.
The three past winners of CrossVegas finished in that order, each waving to the gathered fans. It was a contrast to the tight three-way sprint finish we saw just an hour earlier in the 2014 CrossVegas women’s race.
There was some controversy at the line, as rumors circulated that Nys was to be disqualified for taking a feed too early in the race. “I saw Sven going [into the pits] when we just had one lap,” said van der Haar. “I didn’t know what he was doing. He was a fair winner. I tried to get ahead of him before the barriers, but I couldn’t close the gap.”
In the end, however, Nys took the top podium spot and the fastest lap award—retaining his crown for another year—and just was penalized with a 1000 Swiss francs.
With stiff competition on a course that kept racers tightly packed, Powers gave a strong performance, coming in only seconds behind the top two ranked riders in the world to take third.
The fans may have been a bit to rowdy at this years’ event, spraying beer on even the front of the race and most famous of riders. Van der Haar angrily reported having beer thrown in his face several times during the race. “If they keep throwing beer,” he said, “I’m not coming back. That’s not cycling, that’s not cyclocross, so please stop doing that.”
Adam Craig, in contrast, embraced the revelry to the extent that he paused during a phenomenal ride at the head of the race to pick up a dollar bill on the course.
2014 CrossVegas Conditions: Hot, Damp Course
Though it had rained in the days prior, sogging down the thick grass and making the corners treacherous, the night was well into the nineties as the elite men shot off the starting line. Belgian-born Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) took to the front to lead the opening turns, with Nys, van der Haar, and a contingent of Telenet Fidea riders in tow. The wet grass and open course kept racers together, allowing many faces – Geoff Kabush, Allen Krughoff, and Troy Wells among them – to mix shoulders at the front.
Wells, however, while attempting to hop a barrier, mistimed and came crashing down. For most of the race, the lead pack had criterium-like qualities, swollen with riders that would bunch up or string out as the pace in the front accelerated and softened. Notable presences were Anthony Clark (Jam/NCC Squid Bikes) and Cameron Dodge (Pure Energy/SCOTT Bikes), and Shawn Milne (Boulder Cycle Sport).
Accelerations by first Thijs van Amerongen (Telenet Fidea), then Nys, and Adam Craig all saw the group stretch to a near breaking point, at times thinning to as few as five riders, but always swelling again as no rider could commit to fully powering away on the energy-sapping grass. Nys’ teammate, Sven Vanthourenhout, took much of the pacing duties during the race, and it began to look as if the 2014 Vegas crown would be decided by a sprint between a large cadre of racers.
The King Rides Alone
But Nys, perhaps not trusting his own sprinting legs against the likes of van der Haar, chose his moment. As riders jockeyed for position – Jeremy Powers notable among them, who steadily moved himself into the top three, and wisely only took a single voyage to the front of the race – Nys accelerated into the barriers, hopped them with ease to create the necessary gap, and then exploded away. “He’s sending me home to work on my barriers!” laughed Powers after the race.
Though van der Haar responded, it was too late: Nys was gone. Powers pulled away from the remaining chasers, and looked to be closing on van der Haar in the final turns, but had to settle for third place, the top placed American, happy to see his form is coming along nicely.
Nys, in turn, looks ready to take on the world.
Stay tuned for a lot more photos and interviews from CrossVegas 2014.
2014 CrossVegas Preliminary Photo Gallery:
2014 CrossVegas Elite Men's Cyclocross Race Results
|1||15||NYS Sven||Crelan-Aa Drinks||BEL||1:03:17|
|2||1||VAN DER HAAR Lars||Development Team Giant-Shimano||NED||1:03:21|
|3||29||POWERS Jeremy||Rapha Focus||USA||1:03:29|
|4||24||HERMANS Quinten *||Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||BEL||1:03:34|
|5||38||VANTHOURENHOUT Sven||Crelan-Aa Drinks||BEL||1:03:36|
|6||33||SOETE Daan *||Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||BEL||1:03:47|
|7||4||KRUGHOFF Allen||Noosa Professional Cyclocross||USA||1:03:51|
|8||30||MILNE Shawn||Boulder Cycle Sport/ Yoga Glo||USA||1:03:53|
|9||13||BERDEN Ben||Raleigh Clement||BEL||1:03:53|
|10||78||DODGE Cameron||Pure Energy/Scott Bikes||USA||1:03:55|
|11||10||DRISCOLL James||Raleigh Clement||USA||1:03:59|
|12||37||CRAIG Adam||Giant Factory Off-Road Team||USA||1:04:14|
|13||49||WELLS Jake||Stans No Tubes||USA||1:04:26|
|14||18||ZAHNER Simon||Ekz Racing Team||SUI||1:04:31|
|15||16||VAN AMERONGEN Thijs||Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||NED||1:04:43|
|17||22||WINTERBERG Lukas||Mueller Landscaping / Bh Bicycl||SUI||1:05:05|
|18||21||KABUSH Geoff||Scott-3Rox Racing||CAN||1:05:34|
|19||42||RICHEY Craig||Trek Red Truck Racing P/B Mosai||CAN||1:05:38|
|20||17||WILDHABER Marcel||Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team||SUI||1:05:38|
|21||14||CLARK Anthony||Jam/Ncc Squid Bikes||USA||1:05:39|
|22||9||JOHNSON Timothy||Cannondale Pb Cyclocrossworld.C||USA||1:06:05|
|23||40||ZANDSTRA Derek||Scott 3 Rox Racing||CAN||1:06:12|
|25||28||LINDINE Justin||Redline / Nbx||USA||1:06:15|
|26||46||HOKE Mitchell||The Pro'S Closet Cx||USA||1:06:21|
|27||79||SITLER Jacob||Seavs/Haymarket Pb Van Dessel||USA||1:06:27|
|28||80||DECKER Carl||Giant Factory Off-Road Team||USA||1:06:36|
|29||52||GAFFNEY Lewis *||American Classic Raleigh Pro Cx||USA||1:07:05|
|30||12||DURRIN Jeremy||Neon Velo Cycling Team||USA||1:07:06|
|31||51||SONNTAG Benjamin||Team Clif Bar||GER||1:07:19|
|32||55||MCDONALD Zach||Kccx Elite Cyclocross Team P/B||USA||1:07:59|
|33||34||WERNER Kerry||Optum P/B Kely Benefit Strategi||USA||1:08:02|
|35||81||TURNER Thomas||Team Jamis||USA||1:08:03|
|36||36||WELLS Troy||Team Clif Bar||USA||1:08:31|
|37||58||REINECKE Elliot||Focus Bikes||USA||1:08:43|
|38||35||KAISER Cody *||Langetwins/Specialized||USA||1:08:56|
|39||32||VAN DEN HAM Michael *||Trek Red Truck P/B Mosaic Homes||CAN||1:09:55|
|40||50||JOHNSON Joshua *||Giant Factory Off-Road Team||USA||1:10:11|
|41||41||ORTENBLAD Tobin *||California Giant Berry Farms -||USA||1:10:50|
|42||61||AITKEN Christopher *||Focus Bikes Australia||AUS||@2Laps|
|43||6||MARION Robert||American Classic Pro Cyclocross||USA||@2Laps|
|44||45||NIETERS Jared||Seavs/Haymarket Pb Van Dessel||USA||@2Laps|
|46||53||JACKSON Chris||Castex Racing||USA||@2Laps|
|47||54||MCCONNELL Mark||Synergy Racing P/B Sri Importin||CAN||@3Laps|
|48||56||COPLEA Tyler *||Velo Vie/ Hammer Nutrition||USA||@3Laps|
|49||63||KAPPIUS Brady||Team Clif Bar||USA||@3Laps|
|50||66||CHAPMAN Tom *||Focus Bikes Australia||AUS||@4Laps|
|51||62||LEAN Jade||Focus Bikes Australia Cx Team||AUS||@5Laps|
|52||48||RYAN Alex||Mock Orange Pro Cx Team||USA||@5Laps|
|53||31||DUNLEA Sean *||Neon Velo Cycling Team||GBR||@5Laps|
|DNF||77||GARRIGAN Mike||Van Dessel||CAN|
|DNF||47||ROBINSON Hugo *||Neon Velo Cycling Team||GBR|