Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) and Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) took victories on Wednesday at the 2017 Cross Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) soloed to victory at the 2017 Cross Vegas on Wednesday night with the famous Las Vegas Strip shining brightly in the distance. The Belgian attacked through the uphill sand pit on lap one and was never to be seen again. Laurens brother Diether finished second with Jeremy Powers (Aspire), who did the bulk of the work in the chase group, rounding out the podium in third.

“It looked easy, but it wasn’t easy because it wasn’t the plan to get in front the first lap,” Sweeck, who finished second at the Telenet UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup at Jingle Cross in Iowa City on Sept. 17, said. “I was first in the descent, and then it was already a good gap. I kept pushing on the pedals. I was very happy at the finish line.”

The 11th edition of Cross Vegas began with “The Strip” in the distance for the final time on Wednesday night. Held midweek during the Interbike tradeshow, the race will be moving to Reno next year, as that is where Interbike will be held. However, the race will still be called Cross Vegas.

Powers took the holeshot, but soon conceded the lead to Travis Livermon. The Maxxis-Shimano rider led the race for the first half of the opening lap until the riders came to the uphill sand pit. Few were able to ride the tough section and Laurens Sweeck took advantage. He flew through the sand pit and opened up a lead that would never be closed.

A chase group of Powers, Diether Sweeck, and Michael Van den Ham (Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare) soon formed.

As the laps ticked off, Laurens continued to extend his lead and the chase group turned to tactics instead of trying to bring the leader back. The slowing pace allowed a couple of riders to bridge to the chase and give themselves a shot at the podium. First Bjorn Selander (Borah Teamwear powered by Bingham Built) and then Geoff Kabush (SCOTT sports-Maxxis) bridged to the three chasers.

Into the final lap Laurens led by nearly a minute and the podium was set, but not the exact order. A Powers attack with a lap and a half to go had separated the four-time U.S. national champion and Diether from the rest of the chase group.

Diether led Powers into the uphill sandpit for the final time and rode through it cleanly. Powers bobbled and was forced to get off and run. This proved to be the deciding factor with Powers unable to close the gap created by Diether riding the sandpit, while he ran.

A special moment occurred at the end of the race with Laurens sitting up and waiting for his brother. The Sweeck brothers crossed the line together with Laurens holding a Belgian flag he took from a fan on the finishing straight.

Powers came home third with Selander, who went all-out on the final lap and passed Van den Ham, taking fourth. Canadian Kabush finish sixth.

Top-10 results

Nash, Pendrel go 1-2 for CLIF Pro Team

Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) soloed to victory at the 2017 Cross Vegas, her fifth victory in the race’s 11 editions.

Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) showed her dominant performance at the Iowa City world cup on Sunday was no fluke, as she rode a flawless race to take victory at the 2017 Cross Vegas. The win gave her five victories in the race’s 11 editions with her first coming in 2010. Her teammate Catharine Pendrel finished second with Ellen Noble (Aspire), who bunny hopped the barriers, third.

“We worked together and could get more distance between us and them,” Nash said about her duel with Pendrel, making her winning move in the long sand runup with a lap to go. “As it got close to the end it was time to kind of duke it out between the two teammates. It was a good day.”

French national champion Caroline Mani (Van Dessel/Atom Composites) launched off the line and took the holeshot. She was soon passed by her teammate Cassandra Maximenko who opened up a small gap, but Nash shut her down. A lead group of nine soon formed, as the typical pack riding tactics of the Cross Vegas course soon began.

On the third lap of five, Pendrel and Nash decided enough was enough and broke away from the others. The CLIF Pro Team duo worked well together and built up a considerable advantage over the others rather quickly.

Nash made her move for victory on the uphill sand pit the following lap. She charged up the hill and hit the accelerator once back on her bike. The gap she opened up was one that Pendrel would not be able to close.

Behind Nash and Pendrel, a chase group of five had formed. Noble and Mani were joined by Chloe Woodruff (Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team), Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX), and Crystal Anthony (Maxxis-Shimano).

While the top-two spots were sealed, the final spot on the podium was not. Noble won the sprint for third with Mani finishing fourth and Woodruff in fifth.

Women Full Results

Men Full Results