(SEPTEMBER 14, 2011) LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Lars van der Haar of Rabobank-Giant won Wednesday night’s elite men’s race at Cross Vegas. Van der Haar, the current U23 world cyclocross champion, won a close threeway sprint ahead of Christian Heule of Cyclocrossword-Cannondale and Rob Peeters of Telenet-Fidea.
Bright lights lit up the dark desert sky and the Sierra Nevada tent stoked the enthusiasm of the crowd. The riders outside the front group had plenty of hecklers and dollar and beer hand-ups. Despite the fun and games among the spectators, it was serious business at the front of the race.
Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale brought strength in numbers and Jamey Driscoll went on the attack early. Former World Champion Bart Wellens set off in pursuit of Driscoll, caught him, and left the American behind. Wellens spent some quality solo time, before the combined efforts of Jeremy Powers of Rapha-Focus, Tim Johnson of Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale, and Ryan Trebon of LTS-Felt ended his dash for freedom.
In the end, Lars van der Haar had the best legs on the final climb to the finish. He outsprinted Heule and Peeters, in a finish only the camera could decide. Powers finished fourth and Ryan Trebon rounded out the top five.
In the women’s race, Katerina Nash of Luna Chix attacked early in the race and together with her team-mate Georgia Gould, she held a consistent advantage throughout the race. A strong chase group that included Amy Dombroski of Crankbrothers Race Club, Meredith Miller of California Giant-Specialized, and Kelli Emmett of Giant Bicycles kept the charging Luna duo close, but proved no match for their combined power.
In final lap, Nash left Gould behind. The gap held between 10 and 15 seconds, but Nash succesfully held off the chase to celebrate a solo victory. Amy Dombroski finished second, while mountain bike racer Kelli Emmett of Giant Bicycles finished third. Miller slotted into fourth, while early leader Gould rounded out the top five.