Laurens Sweeck and Katerina Nash Rocket to Victory at Clif Bar CrossVegas
A stellar field of world and national champions lined up for both the Elite Men’s and Elite Women’s races at the final Las Vegas edition of Clif Bar CrossVegas. Ultimately it was team cooperation that determined who would own the top two podium spots in each race; Belgian brothers and ERA-Circus teammates Laurens and Diether Sweeck for the Elite Men, and for the Elite Women, Clif Pro Teammates Katerina Nash, of the Czech Republic, and Catharine Pendrel, of Canada.
In the men’s race, Laurens Sweeck opened a gap on his first run up the course’s challenging sand pit and kept at least 30 seconds ahead of the chase group for the rest of the race. His brother and teammate Diether Sweeck marked every move by the five chasers, before propelling himself to 2nd place, well in front of four-time U.S. national champion Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing), who took 3rd.
“Diether was just able to sit on the whole time and capitalize from all the work I was doing up front,” said Powers. “That’s racing…they for sure had power in numbers.”
Katerina Nash Closes Out CrossVegas with Her 5th Win
Fresh off her World Cup victory three days ago, Katerina Nash handily beat out the competition for her 5th CrossVegas win. She and her teammate Catherine Pendrel spent two laps in a group of eight, before taking off together and establishing a solid and impenetrable lead over the others, who spent the rest of the race making small attacks and jockeying for position. It wasn’t until the last time up the final barriers that American Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing) made the move that would put her in 3rd place.
“Halfway through on the stairs, Catharine went into a little attack… and I went around and jumped on one of the fastest wheels in the world, so we teamed up and worked together,” said Nash, who is also an Olympian and World Cup champion.
The deep grass and windswept terrain at the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex in Las Vegas, and the course that race director Brook Watts and team have perfected over 11 years, is well known for its flyovers, obstacles and sand pits. Said Laurens Sweeck, “It was like there was still a brake on my wheel with the grass here, so…it was hard.”
Next year, CrossVegas will be held September 19, 2018 in Reno, Nevada.
“It’s been such an amazing event…definitely a great addition to Interbike,” said Nash. “There were maybe people in the bike industry who had never seen a cross race before, and this was a chance for them to… pick up a cross bike and go ride it and realize how cool it is.”
Photos © Dave Iltis/CyclingWest.com