"Viva Las Vegas!" croons Elvis. "Viva BIKE Vegas," we say.
BicyclingHub.com staff member Jenn Clunie caught the shuttle to the venue just in time to see returning champion Katerina Nash (Team Luna Pro) charge to victory, followed closely by Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers) and fellow LUNA Chix teammate Georgia Gould.
After Elvis came on stage to sing a lively version of "Viva Las Vegas" to whip the crowds into a fervor, 109 Elite men lined up to start. Bystanders were not prepared by the speeds and gusts of wind generated by cyclists blowing by at 20+ mph in energy-sucking wet grass, off-camber patches and technical tight turns. At the end of 60 minutes, U23 Cyclocross World Champion Lars van der Haar (Rabobank) sprinted to a win with a capital "W," with Christian Heule (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) taking second and Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) scooping up third.
Returning Cross Vegas champion Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) relaxes after a job VERY well done. According to an interview afterwards posted on CrossVegas.com, Nash recounts: “Georgia [Gould] and I were working together keeping the gap,” stated Nash. “Perhaps I was keeping a faster pace than Georgia could maintain today. Georgia and I didn’t talk before the race. We have raced together enough times to know what to expect from each other. We did talk during the race though. We talked about working together to maintain a gap.” Katkja maintained that gap and rode on to victory.
Racers came flying down the hill into this tight corner at full speed. NO BRAKES! was the motto of the evening--at least for the winners :)