It was easy to count out Sophie de Boer halfway through the final lap of Cross Vegas, as Katerina Nash attacked the course’s steepest hill. Only U.S. champion Katie Compton could follow Nash, and the Kalas – NNOF rider looked to be dropped in the first round of the cyclocross World Cup, Wednesday night in Las Vegas. But de Boer battled back to the leaders, and made a bold final move to win in a drag race ahead of Nash, who was second; Compton was third. “In the last lap we were all looking at each other, so I thought I could take my chance,” de Boer said.

Caroline Mani was fast off the line leading the field into the first corners. But the French champion was not a factor as the Italian champion, Eva Lechner, quickly took the lead and held it for the first lap. The Luna rider was one of the few women to ride one of the artificial stairs on the course.

Top-10 results

  • 1. Sophie DE BOER, (NED), 47:11
  • 2. Katerina NASH, (CZE)
  • 3. Katherine COMPTON, (USA)
  • 4. Amanda MILLER, (USA), 47:30
  • 5. Caroline MANI, (FRA), 47:37
  • 6. Rebecca FAHRINGER, (USA), 47:50
  • 7. Catharine PENDREL, (CAN), 48:18
  • 8. Ellen NOBLE, (USA), 48:33
  • 9. Sanne CANT, (BEL), 48:41
  • 10. Courtenay MCFADDEN, (USA), 48:41

Early in the second lap, Lechner’s Luna teammate and fellow mountain biker Catharine Pendrel took a flyer. At first, the chase hesitated, but by the start of the second lap, a trio of Compton (Trek – Panache), de Boer, and Nash (Luna) caught the Canadian.

Pendrel paid for her early efforts by the race’s halfway point. After dangling off the back of the lead group, she was dropped just after the course’s tough uphill sand pit, which all of the women were running.

Through laps four and five, the lead trio rode together, keeping a chase of Amanda Miller (Boulder Cyclesport) and Mani at bay.

Compton chose to lead the group into the sixth and final lap. Nash soon tested the waters with an attack on one of the course’s steepest climbs. By all appearances, de Boer was done for, several bike lengths behind.

The Dutchwoman dragged herself back up to the two leaders after the sand pit, but again was gapped.

Nash tried another attack, moving to the lead for a sinuous section of switchbacks. De Boer chased back on and went right to the front, trying — what appeared to be —one final effort before the flyover, but Nash and Compton quickly passed her.

But somehow, de Boer found one final match to burn, riding back to the front on a section of sidewalk and attacking into the final steps. “They were waiting so I thought, ‘Oh I’m just going to go for it,’” said de Boer. “My teammate, he was screaming, ‘You have to be at the front on the stairs.’”

She did just that, led Nash around the final right-hand bend, and gutted out a tough sprint to claim the win and the first World Cup leader’s jersey of the 2016-17 season.

Results

  • 1. Sophie DE BOER, (NED), 47:11
  • 2. Katerina NASH, (CZE)
  • 3. Katherine COMPTON, (USA)
  • 4. Amanda MILLER, (USA), 47:30
  • 5. Caroline MANI, (FRA), 47:37
  • 6. Rebecca FAHRINGER, (USA), 47:50
  • 7. Catharine PENDREL, (CAN), 48:18
  • 8. Ellen NOBLE, (USA), 48:33
  • 9. Sanne CANT, (BEL), 48:41
  • 10. Courtenay MCFADDEN, (USA), 48:41
  • 11. Joyce VANDERBEKEN, (BEL), 48:41
  • 12. Loes SELS, (BEL), 49:01
  • 13. Sunny GILBERT, (USA), 49:06
  • 14. Mical DYCK, (CAN), 49:13
  • 15. Emma WHITE, (USA), 49:17
  • 16. Eva LECHNER, (ITA), 49:21
  • 17. Ellen VAN LOY, (BEL), 49:31
  • 18. Elle ANDERSON, (USA), 49:40
  • 19. Kaitlin ANTONNEAU, (USA), 50:08
  • 20. Jessica CUTLER, (USA), 50:20
  • 21. Amanda NAUMAN, (USA), 50:41
  • 22. Kathryn CUMMING, (USA), 50:46
  • 23. Sandra WALTER, (CAN), 50:54
  • 24. Sofia GOMEZ VILLAFANE, (ARG), 51:30
  • 25. Arley KEMMERER, (USA), 51:30
  • 26. Cindy MONTAMBAULT, (CAN), 51:52
  • 27. Crystal ANTHONY, (USA), 52:18
  • 28. Cassandra MAXIMENKO, (USA), 52:24
  • 29. Jena GREASER, (USA), 53:09
  • 30. Sidney McGILL, (CAN), 53:15
  • 31. Caitlyn VESTAL, (USA), 53:24
  • 32. Ashley BARSON, (CAN), 53:41
  • 33. Siobhan KELLY, (CAN), 55:13
  • 34. Maria LARKIN, (IRL)