Report by Eddie Clark
International racers Mourey and Nash take CrossVegas victories.
(Sept 22, 2010) LAS VEGAS, Nv.—In a last hurrah for Interbike in Las Vegas, cyclocross racers from across the country and even top European pros from across the Atlantic ocean made one more trip to Las Vegas to race on grassy fields under the lights at CrossVegas. Also present were thousands of raucous crowds full of cheer and clamoring cowbells under a clear sky and bright vapor lights.
The first racers to take to the fields were the everyday bike shop mechanics and bike industry workers who lined up for a grand mall cross race under the lights and a chance to hold bragging rights in the industry cup. Coloradoan strongman Jon Cariveau of Moots bikes took top honors with a victory over a stacked field of bike industry ringers.
Following the Industry Cup, the fast women of cyclocross took the line at 7pm for 45 minutes of intense racing on the 3.2km grassy course. Notably absent from the competition was Katie Compton who was out due to an injury suffered in her last mountain bike race. Even still, the racing was excellent, and a strong display of horsepower and teamwork was given by the trio of Luna racers Georgia Gould, Amy Dombroski, and Czech national champion Katerina Nash.
Undeterred by being outnumbered, Mary McConneloug bravely fought an uphill battle and managed a well earned third place on the podium. “I believed I had a chance at winning. I got a pretty good start, and went for it. I was really looking for the fast patches of grass and setting it up for the corners to get all the speed I could out of the course”, said McConneloug.
“It was really exciting having us three Luna riders together at the front, so we were able to use some good tactics for the team win”, commented Amy Dombroski racing in her first full cross season for the all woman Luna team. Indeed, Dombroski took her best finish at CrossVegas yet with a splendid ride for second place. Mid-way into the race Katerina Nash got a gap, and hammered it until the end to take the win with a 16 second margin.
“It’s a great course and a lot of fun with all the crowds cheering us on, it really gets you going to ride harder”, said Nash of her race.
With a primed and excited crowd, the fastest professional men’s field ever to race at Cross Vegas blasted off the start line at 9pm for 60 minutes of high octane racing. Just over 100 men would duke it out for valuable UCI points and a fat check at the awards ceremony, and with 23 international racers whom were mostly from Europe, it was nothing short of a high speed cyclocross slugfest. “It was such a fast group at the front of the race. Every time there were accelerations, guys would get popped off the back. It was a real power-rider type of course”, said Jake Wells of the Hudz-Subaru professional cyclocross team.
“I always feel awful at this race, it’s like riding around with the brakes on with the grassy course, but I still love racing here”, said Jonathan Page of Planet Bike. Page never let up to stay in the front group and took 6th place for the evening.
Looking sharp in his national champion’s kit for the first half of the race was Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld’s Tim Johnson. “It got real fast at the end. I felt pretty good for the first 45 minutes, but just didn’t have it at the end. It was definitely some tight racing out there, especially in the sections where the course narrowed down”, said Johnson. Fortunately Johnson’s teammate Jamey Driscoll used smart tactics per his teammate’s advice to launch a solo attack when the race lulled around 30 minutes in. Driscoll’s lead would stretch and strain between 10-30 seconds for the remainder of the race. “I never felt good the entire race, but apparently I was riding decent” noted Driscoll of his second place ride.
Throughout the entire race Kona’s Ryan Trebon looked on form and was certainly riding on point to bring home a win. Lap after lap, Trebon could be seen at the front desperately driving the chase group to reel in Driscoll. However, as is so often the case in bike racing, the spoils of victory don’t always go to the hardest working racers. With one lap to go the field closed down Driscoll’s gap to within 20 meters, at which point French national CX champion Francis Mourey of Francais De Juex launched a fierce sprint to narrowly take the victory from Driscoll in a crowd pleasing finish.
“I just flew in at 2am, so I was a little tired. We were all together and Driscoll wasn’t gaining time, so I waited until the end to try for the win with a good sprint”, said Mourey’s French translator of his race victory.
For full results, please see Cross Vegas.