By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Las Vegas
Aside from the top men and women competing on the outskirts of Las Vegas, one of the other attractions of the second CrossVegas was the presence of a certain seven-time Tour de France winner on the start grid. Number 38, Lance Armstrong (Livestrong), was given the first starting spot not taken up by UCI point earners. And despite a crash near him in the scramble for the hole shot, he was off and racing with the field. A few riders in front of him were gapped on the second lap and he spent the rest of the race working in the chase group, taking hard pulls with former teammate Tony Cruz (BMC).
"It was a long day and I was a little shocked by the start," he said. "These guys ride fast, there is not doubt about that. They are obviously well-trained for this. It looks so easy on the bike... It's not so easy, and hats off to these guys!"
"I didn't have any grand ambition or big dreams that I would ride away. They are strong and clearly it is their time of year. But it feels good. I come as a cyclist first and foremost, and as a bicycle shop owner as well. It's great to see the support out there, especially from the young kids who thought we would just go across [the gap] on the last lap and win the race!
When asked about the rest of his cyclo-cross plans, he joked, "They just got re-evaluated! But really it's hard, being up at 2:30 a.m. Vegas time on the east coast and then flying here all day – I would need more and better preparation to jump into an hour race and go for it.