CrossVegas is set to host the first ever North American round of the Cyclocross World Cup, Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pressure is definitely on the promoters of ‘Cross Vegas’ to make this new, bigger iteration of their event a success on the World Cup Level. Working to the advantage of CrossVegas is the fact that the race occurs during InterBike, an annual trade show that attracts most of the cycling industry, including manufacturers and media. This industry presence should bolster the attendance numbers, create an energetic environment and be covered well since so many media outlets are at the trade show. With most top European Racers in attendance the ingredients are all in place for a spectacular CrossVegas.
The Fly Over is Constructed on CrossVegas Course 2015
While the ill-fated Montreal World Cup has caused extra expense and re-jigging of team and event schedules the athletes and teams are still going to Vegas. Initially it was feared that the loss of the 2nd North American event would mean many Europeans would cancel the trip over and focus on the remaining European World Cups. Luckily for Vegas, several top riders have North American Sponsors, including Sven Nys and Katie Compton with Trek, so their attendance provided other top riders sufficient motivation to get a world class field to Vegas in September. Lars Van Der Haar, David Van Der Poel, Tom Meeusen, Sven Nys, and Jeremy Powers are among the men to watch (see the men’s start-list here). For the Women Katie Compton, Ellen Van Loy, Helen Wyman, Katerina Nash and Eva Lechner are safe bets for top 10 performances (see the women’s start list here).
Canada has maximized its 8 rider limit for both Men and Women. The women include Luna’s Catharine Pendrel, a 2x MTB World Champion and Maghalie Rochette starting her Cross Season with Vegas after a 2nd at Mountain Bike Nationals in July. Other Canadian Women include Mical Dyck with a new sponsor in Naked Bikes, Siobhan Kelly (To Wheels), Sidney McGill, Natasha Elliot (Trek Red Truck), Ashley Barson (Rise) and Manitoba’s own Anna Schappert. Pendrel is coming off of a big training block and a 5th at Mountain Bike Worlds in Andorra. The last week has been busy off the bike but did provide a short break, which combined with her form from worlds and some time at altitude she could very well have a good result in Vegas. Pendrel exclaims, “Cross Vegas is such a fun event and I’m excited to do my first Cyclocross World Cup”
Barson, Kelly and Schappert starting out on a pre-ride Lap at CrossVegas
Regardless of their experience’s in cross and other disciplines, Vegas will serve as a first World Cup Cross experience for many of the Canadian athletes. Pendrel sees the early cross race as an opportunity to use late season mountain bike form, even without specific cross preparation. “Coming off the MTB season is an advantage. Both Pendrel and her teammate Rochette believe they can be in the top 10 but acknowledge that anything could happen. For younger racers, the process of riding smooth and putting in a good effort helps motivate their race and gauge success.
The Canadian men are led by Cross Vegas veteran Geoff Kabush (Scott-3-Rox), who has been a top 10 contender in many of the past iterations of CrossVegas. Michael Van Den Ham, who put Kabush to the test last year in their fight for 2nd place at Canadian Nationals will also be a rider to watch. Missing from the race is reigning National Champion Mike Garrigan who is not returning to North America until next week as he focuses on the October North-Eastern UCI cross races leading into the Winnipeg CX Nationals. Aaron Schooler, Evan McNeely, Craig Richey (Trek Red Truck), Jeremy Martin (Garneau), Mark McConnell (Hot Sauce Cycling) and Derek Zandstra (Scott-3-Rox) round out the male entrants.
Evan McNeely and Jeremy Martin – Having some fun Pre-RIding
The time of day is an interesting challenge for most athletes. 8 and 9 pm race starts will challenge athletes, especially those from the east to be focused, rested and sufficiently fueled. Norco’s Evan McNeely will keep it relaxed and enjoy a normal day. “I will probably eat dinner. I don’t usually eat dinner before races, but i think I will this time.” Rochette sticks to a well-rehearsed routine despite the chaos at Interbike. “Once we get to the race site, it’s the usual routine (eating 3h before, warm up, etc). It’s just pushed back a little later in the day.” Siobhan Kelly has had more time on the cross bike over the last few weeks and combined her cross specific rides with some practice riding later in the day to help become familiar with racing later.
To stay up to date on the race be sure to follow @CDNCyclingmag on twitter. Also watch for our post-race report here. Live Coverage can be found at www.crossvegas.com , Universal Sports and at Pro Cycling Live and through their twitter @crossvegas
Peter is a Professional Cycling Coach and Registered Kinesiologist based out of Collingwood, Ontario. You may remember him from the Bike Skills Project. As an elite bicycle athlete he competes in as many disciplines as possible. He holds the Canadian Leadville 100 record.
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