Van Aert wins CrossVegas, takes first World Cup leader’s jersey

Nys and Vanthourenhout round out all-Belgian podium

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) won the first-ever non-European UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Wednesday under the sparkling lights of Las Vegas, Nevada, soloing to an impressive CrossVegas win ahead of fellow Belgians Sven Nys and Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napolean Games).

Desert Breeze Soccer Complex, which hosted the ninth running of CrossVegas, lived up to its name Wednesday as winds whipped throughout the 67-minute race on the thick park grass.

The conditions didn’t appear to slow the riders, however, as the pack of 70 cruised over the course in one long, strung out line for the first several laps.

Although Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) won the hole shot and led early on during the first lap, it was Vanthourenhout who put in the first real attack of the race. The move netted him a gap that grew out to a maximum of 30 seconds.

“When I took 30 seconds, I really felt pretty good and I had hope for the end but then I saw two really strong riders coming and I said, ‘OK, I’ll hold back a little bit and then try to catch up,’” Vanthourenhout said.

The two approaching riders were Nys and eventual winner Van Aert, who said he knew with Vanthourenhout’s strength they could not leave him alone off the front for long.

“I know him from the youth categories in Belgium,” Van Aert said. “He’s a strong rider. He’s always difficult to catch back when he’s got a good pace.

“I knew we can’t wait long to make a move in the front,” Van Aert said. “And then I saw that Sven was in the front, and before in the race he was always a little bit more in the back. So I knew he was strong, and he wanted also to go in the front.”

Van Aert and Nys slowly reeled in Vanthourenhout after several laps of chasing, and once together the trio continued to open up its advantage over a group of about 15, who were being led by US champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus).

Vanthourenhout lost contact with Van Aerts and Nys with three laps to go, drifting back into no-man’s land while fighting to hold off the chase.

“I really tried to keep on as long as I could,” Vanthourenhout said. “But then at a certain moment I had to let them go. Then I said I would ride my own race and I kept my third place, which was really good.”

With Vanthourenhout gone from the lead, Van Aert quickly seized the moment and attacked Nys, gaining an advantage over his fellow Belgian and then pressing the issue. Nys trailed about 15-20 seconds behind, with Vanthourenhout still holding onto his third-place spot.

“I thought maybe I had to try more,” Van Aert said. “But after the first one I already had a gap. Afterwards it was just giving all I had. It was really difficult the last two laps to keep on pushing and keep up the pace, because it is a really heavy course. The ground is really heavy, and also a lot of wind on the field. It was a hard one, but I’m very happy to start the season like this.”

Meanwhile, Powers continued to do the work in the chase, and his efforts whittled the group down to just himself, Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) and 2014-15 World Cup winner Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napolean Games). The two European riders were content to let Powers do the pulling, sitting in his slipstream and waiting to pounce at the finish.

Van Aert showed his class with a spectacular final two laps, holding off Nys by 23 seconds at the finish. Vanthourenhout came in 44 seconds down for third, while Van der Haar and Pauwels both slipped past Powers to round out the top five.

Van Aaert said he was especially proud to have the opportunity to wear the World Cup leader’s jersey next month during round two in Valkenburg.

“Last year I was two times the World Cup leader in the U23 category, but I had not the option to wear it because there was a world champion right there,” Van Aert said. “Right now it’s going to be the first time I can race in it, and it’s really something that I can look forward to, to do that in Valkenburg next month.

“I’m just really happy to start like this,” he said. “For every rider that is a little dream to do that, and it gives you a lot of confidence to keep doing the good work going into winter.”

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team1:07:00 
2Sven Nys (Bel)0:00:23 
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:00:44 
4Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin0:00:52 
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
6Jeremy Powers (USA)0:00:54 
7Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec0:01:30 
8Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team0:01:40 
9Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:01:48 
10Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
11Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Era Real Estate - Murprotec0:01:49 
12Ryan Trebon (USA)0:01:52 
13Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:02:04 
14Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:02:17 
15Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:02:31 
16Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Bkcp-Corendon0:02:34 
17Adam Toupalik (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon  
18Steve Chainel (Fra)0:02:37 
19Radomir Simunek (Cze) Era Real Estate - Murprotec  
20Curtis White (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies0:02:38 
21Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team  
22Adam Craig (USA)0:02:46 
23Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:02:49 
24Michael Boros (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon0:02:51 
25Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec0:02:54 
26Ian Field (GBr)  
27Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:02:56 
28James Driscoll (USA)0:03:03 
29Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:03:20 
30Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Bkcp-Corendon0:03:28 
31Simon Zahner (Swi)0:03:29 
32Daniel Summerhill (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
33Stan Godrie (Ned) Rabobank Development Team0:03:31 
34Travis Livermon (USA) Team Smartstop0:03:36 
35Jeremy Martin (Can)0:03:37 
36Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing0:03:46 
37Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team  
38Brian Matter (USA)0:03:57 
39Lukas Winterberg (Swi)0:04:01 
40Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:04:05 
41Allen Krughoff (USA)0:04:07 
42Craig Richey (Can)0:04:16 
43Dan Timmerman (USA)0:04:30 
44David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp-Corendon0:04:37 
45Kerry Werner (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies  
46Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team0:04:49 
47Mark Mcconnell (Can)0:04:57 
48Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing0:05:30 
49Christopher Aitken (Aus)0:05:41 
50Tobin Ortenblad (USA)0:06:03 
51Stephen Hyde (USA) Astellas Cycling Team0:06:04 
52Aaron Schooler (Can)0:06:33 
53Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)0:06:39 
54Evan Mcneely (Can)0:07:19 
55Tom Chapman (Aus)0:07:27 
56Kenneth Hansen (Den)-1 Lap 
57Jonathan Page (USA)-1 Lap 
58Garry Millburn (Aus)-1 Lap 
59Jack Hogan (Aus)-1 Lap 
60Michael Van Den Ham (Can)-1 Lap 
61Hugo Robinson (GBr)-2 Laps 
62Yoshitaka Hama (Jpn)-2 Laps 
63Sascha Weber (Ger) Cct P/B Champion System-2 Laps 
64Zach Mcdonald (USA)-3 Laps 
65Jeremy Durrin (USA)-3 Laps 
66Oleksiy Ukhanov (Ukr)-4 Laps 
67Jarno Trey (Est)-7 Laps 
World Cup Standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team80 pts
2Sven Nys (Bel)70 
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team65 
4Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin60 
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team55 
6Jeremy Powers (USA)50 
7Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec48 
8Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team46 
9Van Corne Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team44 
10Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team42 
11Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Era Real Estate - Murprotec40 
12Ryan Trebon (USA)39 
13Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team38 
14Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team37 
15Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team36 
16Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Bkcp-Corendon35 
17Adam Toupalik (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon34 
18Steve Chainel (Fra)33 
19Radomir Simunek (Cze) Era Real Estate - Murprotec32 
20Curtis White (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies31 
21Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team30 
22Adam Craig (USA)29 
23Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team28 
24Michael Boros (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon27 
25Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec26 
26Ian Field (GBr)25 
27Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)24 
28James Driscoll (USA)23 
29Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team22 
30Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Bkcp-Corendon21 
31Simon Zahner (Swi)20 
32Daniel Summerhill (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team19 
33Stan Godrie (Ned) Rabobank Development Team18 
34Travis Livermon (USA) Team Smartstop17 
35Jeremy Martin (Can)16 
36Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing15 
37Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team14 
38Brian Matter (USA)13 
39Lukas Winterberg (Swi)12 
40Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling11 
41Allen Krughoff (USA)10 
42Craig Richey (Can)9 
43Dan Timmerman (USA)8 
44David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp-Corendon7 
45Kerry Werner (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies6 
46Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team5 
47Mark Mcconnell (Can)4 
48Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing3 
49Christopher Aitken (Aus)2 
50Tobin Ortenblad (USA)1 

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