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Wout van Aert became the new CrossVegas King at the world Cup. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

Wout van Aert became the new CrossVegas King at the world Cup. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

LAS VEGAS – The Men’s Elite race at the World Cup at CrossVegas started off with a furious field that, despite its deep talent, remained tightly together for the first few laps of the race. Tom Meeusen of Belgium led the pack as he dictated a brutal pace for many to follow. The Telenet-Fidea rider continued to press his limits in the early goings, which ended up causing him to crash in the barriers only two laps into the race, although he was able to recover and reattach himself to the back of the lead group.

With most riders remaining content to let the race play out more as a pack race, a stark contrast to how the women’s race went down, Michael Vanthourenhout of Belgium decided to have different ideas. The 2015 U23 winner at the Cyclocross World Championships broke off from the front of the race early in the race with the aid of his teammates on Sunweb-Napoleon Games. He pressed his advantage on the climbs, which he handled better than most in the field, to gain over 40 seconds on second place at his best point.

“I was thinking it was the right moment [to attack],” he told us after the race. “The course was very difficult.”

Wout van Aert excelled after the counter-attack by Nys. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

Wout van Aert excelled after the counter-attack by Nys. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

In a match akin to the race that played out an hour before, the riders looked around at each other, some seeming to be content with fighting for second. Sven Nys of Belgium had other ideas, and launched an attack, while Wout van Aert was able to stick on his wheel.

“I saw [that I] was strong and that there was a good gap between the peleton and Michael, but I didn’t accelerate at the right moment, and the right guy was on my wheel: Wout van Aert. He did some good races on the road and I knew we had to do a time trail together.”

Nys dragged Van Aert around for several laps while Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) of the United States saw that his opportunity was closing quickly. The American didn’t mind keeping four other riders in tow as he chased down the three leaders. The biggest name behind him was none other than Lars van der Haar. Shortly behind them, the 2014-15 World Cup overall winner, Kevin Pauwels was desperately trying to weave through traffic to gain a personal chase of his own.

Nys led the biggest counterattack of the day, and spent a few laps in first place. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

Nys led the biggest counterattack of the day, and spent a few laps in first place. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

With over three laps to go, Vanthourenhout could feel the strength vanishing from his legs as he reported later, and while he crossed the flyover, he watched the big screen to see where his rivals were riding behind. Within a half lap, Nys made contact with his wheel.

Van Aert decided it was time to provide an attack of his own. Nys responded and Vanthourenhout gave up the last of his energy ensuring he wasn’t going to be left behind for good. Nys accidentally bobbled on the steps during his chase, a move that he told Cyclocross Magazine cost him at least five to six seconds, and in that moment, “I knew I was riding for second place.”

The three spent the remaining laps spreading themselves out and finishing with Van Aert standing atop an all-Belgium podium.

Michael Vanthourenhout made the boldest move, spreading the field out early on. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

Michael Vanthourenhout made the boldest move, spreading the field out early on. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

“It was hard in the beginning,” Van Aert told Cyclocross Magazine, “it was not really comfortable to race with such a big group… It was difficult for me to answer [Vanthourenhout’s early] attack because many riders were looking out for me, so I waited to catch up with Michael with Sven, and he was a good partner to do that, and after it was a lot more comfortable riding.”

Meanwhile, Powers was fending off Van der Haar and Pauwels in a three-man race for fourth place. Although Powers was able to lead the group over the final Shimano flyover, the Europeans were able to get the best of his efforts by the finish line.

“I went really hard to establish the gap once I jumped the barriers,” Powers told Cyclocross Magazine. “I jumped the barriers a little uncomfortable for myself. I usually don’t jump them that fast to make that gap, but I hit it as hard as I could to get away, and then Lars was able to respond, seeing Kevin [Pauwels] come across was surprising at the moment, but in real life, it’s not, because it’s Kevin Pauwels.”

Belgian National Champion Klaas Vantornout led the group around the manmade objects at CrossVegas. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

Belgian National Champion Klaas Vantornout led the group around the manmade objects at CrossVegas. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

American Adventures

One of the rides of the day had to be Ryan Trebon (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld), who started near the back of the field in 55th, and rode to a 12th place. The tall Oregon-based rider had a rough last season due to an early-season injury, and told Cyclocross Magazine, “My one goal is to make it through the season, and then I really want to be in the races again…last year was so hard to be out there because I didn’t have anything.”

Trebon certainly achieved his goal, taking risks early on to move up within the top ten until getting caught behind a crash and having to pass twenty riders again to come close to a top ten position.

The front of the Elite Men’s Race was still well together by the time they hit the barriers. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

The front of the Elite Men’s Race was still well together by the time they hit the barriers. © Matthew Lasala / Cyclocross Magazine

When asked how it feels to be back at the World Cup level, Trebon said, “Really good. I wish I had a better start, and I wish I didn’t get held up a couple times  behind a couple crashes.” Trebon said he felt terrible pre-riding the course the day before, but on race day, knew he had good legs. “I was moving up to the top 10, then someone crashed and I fell back to 32nd, and I was like, shoot man, this sucks! I started so far back and I had to take a lot of risks. I used a lot of energy to get up there, I was hoping to have a better race, but I can’t complain.”

Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh Clement) was also another American left to ponder what could have been. The Utah-based former CrossVegas winner had hernia surgery in late July, and knew he wasn’t coming into the race on top form, but hoped to have better luck. “It was painful in the way I was expecting, but I had a lot of [tangles]…I never went down, but I shed a little blood,” Driscoll recalled. “I got held up in a lot of little annoying stupid stuff, starting with a guy in front of me who missed his pedal.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Page (Fuji), never showed the late-season form he enjoyed last year, but flatted his rear tubular far from the pits, and rolled in to finish a disappointing 57th place.

Stay tuned for full interviews with the podium as well as race photos. Full results below.

2015 CrossVegas World Cup results - Elite Men

PlaceNameCtryAge*ResultPoints 
1Wout VAN AERTBEL211:07:00200
2Sven NYSBEL391:07:23160
3Michael VANTHOURENHOUTBEL221:07:44140
4Lars VAN DER HAARNED241:07:52120
5Kevin PAUWELSBEL311:07:52110
6Jeremy POWERSUSA321:07:54100
7Laurens SWEECKBEL221:08:3090
8Jens ADAMSBEL231:08:4080
9Corne VAN KESSELNED241:08:4870
10Gianni VERMEERSCHBEL231:08:4860
11Julien TARAMARCAZSUI281:08:4958
12Ryan TREBONUSA341:08:5256
13Klaas VANTORNOUTBEL331:09:0454
14Niels WUBBENNED271:09:1752
15Jim AERNOUTSBEL261:09:3150
16Vincent BAESTAENSBEL261:09:3448
17Adam TOUPALIKCZE191:09:3446
18Steve CHAINELFRA321:09:3744
19Radomir SIMUNEKCZE321:09:3742
20Curtis WHITEUSA201:09:3840
21Thijs VAN AMERONGENNED291:09:3839
22Adam CRAIGUSA341:09:4638
23Tom MEEUSENBEL271:09:4937
24Michael BOROSCZE231:09:5136
25Diether SWEECKBEL221:09:5435
26Ian FIELDGBR291:09:5434
27Javier RUIZ DE LARRINAGA IBANEZESP361:09:5633
28James DRISCOLLUSA291:10:0332
29Toon AERTSBEL221:10:2031
30Philipp WALSLEBENGER281:10:2830
31Simon ZAHNERSUI321:10:2929
32Daniel SUMMERHILLUSA261:10:2928
33Stan GODRIENED221:10:3127
34Travis LIVERMONUSA271:10:3626
35Jeremy MARTINCAN231:10:3725
36Derek ZANDSTRACAN311:10:4624
37Marcel WILDHABERSUI301:10:4623
38Brian MATTERUSA371:10:5722
39Lukas WINTERBERGSUI271:11:0121
40Lachlan NORRISAUS281:11:0520
41Allen KRUGHOFFUSA311:11:0719
42Craig RICHEYCAN311:11:1618
43Dan TIMMERMANUSA351:11:3017
44David VAN DER POELNED231:11:3716
45Kerry WERNERUSA241:11:3715
46Tim MERLIERBEL231:11:4914
47Mark MCCONNELLCAN271:11:5713
48Geoff KABUSHCAN381:12:3012
49Christopher AITKENAUS211:12:4111
50Tobin ORTENBLADUSA211:13:0310
51Stephen HYDEUSA281:13:045
52Aaron SCHOOLERCAN301:13:335
53Benjamin SONNTAGGER351:13:395
54Evan MCNEELYCAN231:14:195
55Tom CHAPMANAUS201:14:275
56Kenneth HANSENDEN245
57Jonathan PAGEUSA395
58Garry MILLBURNAUS285
59Jack HOGANAUS195
60Michael VAN DEN HAMCAN235
61Hugo ROBINSONGBR215
62Yoshitaka HAMAJPN315
63Sascha WEBERGER275
64Zach MCDONALDUSA245
65Jeremy DURRINUSA275
66Oleksiy UKHANOVUKR245
67Jarno TREYEST335
DNSJose Alfredo PACHECO ROSESMEX30