It took courage to ride away from the elite front group, but that’s just what Katerina Nash did Wednesday night in the CrossVegas World Cup. The Luna rider was in the company of the world’s best in Las Vegas. There was World Cup champ Sanne Cant, as well as Italian champ Eva Lechner. But Nash had an ace in the hole, her teammate, Catharine Pendrel, who set a blistering early pace. Nash rode clear with two laps to go and won emphatically.
“It was a good day today,” Nash said. “I felt really strong and made a right move. I was able to take it all the way to the finish. I didn’t really mean to make a move, I just happened to go up front and got a tiny little gap. When you get it here, you kind of have to go with it. I just punched it and went for it.”
Sophie de Boer got the holeshot on the long, grassy straight that passed under the finish arch. After the parade lap, the race bunched up, and Cant took over at the front, wearing the Belgian champion’s kit. Lechner also challenged for the lead.
After the first lap, the field began to separate, in large part due to Lechner’s efforts. She was joined by four riders off the front: Cant, Pendrel, Sanne Van Paassen, and Nash. Pendrel took charge, driving the pace.
After two laps, Katie Compton led the second group, chasing about nine seconds behind. Midway through the third lap, Van Paassen was dropped from the front group.
Nash’s decisive move came on the penultimate lap. After her Luna teammate, Pendrel, had driven the pace through the race’s early laps, Nash got a gap with a gritty acceleration. The Czech champion soon had a 29-second lead on the chasers.
By the final lap, that chase had grown to include another Luna rider, Georgia Gould, who had bridged to the front. Then, it was Lechner’s turn to take a flyer, riding away from the chase just before the sand pit. But she’d left the pursuit too late, and was unable to bridge to Nash, who went on to win solo in a decisive manner. Behind the Italian, Cant took the sprint for third.