Cyclo-cross wrap: Van der Haar and Nys headline CrossVegas

As the professional road season starts its end-of-summer wind down, cyclo-cross riders are gearing up for the start of the UCI 2014-15 calendar that kicks off at the second annual QianSen Trophy Cyclo-cross Yanqing Station held on August 30 in Beijing, China. Follow Cyclingnews' weekly round-up of news, race recaps and previews of what’s ahead during the cyclo-cross season. We also have a gallery of images from the USA Cycling 'cross talent ID camp.

Van der Haar and Nys headline CrossVegas

Dutch rider Lars Van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) and Belgium's Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink), the top two ranked cyclo-cross racers in the world at the end of the 2013-14 calendar year, will start their cyclo-cross seasons at CrossVegas held on September 10 in Nevada.

Van der Haar, who won the event in 2011, will compete in the race for a fourth time, and is looking forward to facing Nys for his first race of the season at the popular stateside event. "When Elvis sings, you know the season has started," he said.

"Racing against Sven will be hard but it's cool to meet him for the first race in America. We are both far away from home, so anything can happen … I won it once and now I want a second win."

Nys, who was second at cyclo-cross worlds last year, won the race in 2013 while wearing the world champion jersey and he will return looking for a win at his season opener as Belgian champion. "I had a great time racing CrossVegas last season, I was pleased to win but more than that - I enjoyed the exciting atmosphere and the big crowds. It's a great spectacle for our sport and an important early-season race on the world calendar."

UCI cyclo-cross season starts in Beijing

The International Cycling Union's (UCI) 2014-15 cyclo-cross calendar will kick off with the second annual QianSen Trophy Cyclo-cross Yanqing Station held on August 30 in the Yanqing District in Beijing, China.

A C2 event last year, and the first of its kind ever held in China, organizers offered to pay for some rider's airfare and lodging, and offered triple the prize purse for men and women, but it was a tough sell considering it was held in September and so close to the popular CrossVegas. Thijs Al (Telenet-Fidea) won the men's race and Denmark's Margriet Kloppenburg (BMC) won the women's race.

This year, organizers moved the race to the end of August and although it may be a tad early for some cyclo-cross racers, and some may still be racing on the road at that time, they are hoping its new C1 upgrade and points will help entice a healthy field.

Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) and Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) finished as the top-ranked elite men's and elite women's riders respectively on the final 2013-14 UCI cyclo-cross standings.

Miller announces new cyclo-cross team - Noosa Finest Yoghurt

American cyclo-cross racer Meredith Miller and colleague Allen Krughoff have started a new professional cyclo-cross program, and have signed on Colorado-based Noosa Finest Yoghurt as the team's title sponsor. The pair will manager their new team while also racing a domestic schedule during the 2014-15 season. They will begin racing at CrossVegas in September and compete at nine other events nationwide in the build-up to the USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross Championships in Austin, Texas.

"Having been with Cal Giant since I first started racing 'cross, this is all a really big change – but it's an exciting one," said Miller, a former professional road racer who also raced cyclo-cross for Cal Giant in recent years. "I'm stepping into unknown territory in owning and running a team, and it definitely comes with a new sense of responsibility to our partners and the sport. We've only signed Noosa for one year, but it's my hope that we're laying the foundations for a program that will grow. I'd love to see us add more riders to the program as early as next season."

Erica Zaveta receives first Amy D. Racing sponsorship award

The Amy D. Racing Foundation announced Erica Zaveta as its first recipient of its elite race sponsorship for the 2014-15 cyclo-cross season. The Pennsylvania native, who now resides in North Carolina, is the 2013 Collegiate National Champion in cyclo-cross, short track and downhill for Division II at Brevard College. She also competes on the road circuit and for the US national team in mountain biking, although her focus is on cyclo-cross.

Donn Kellogg manages the Amy D. Racing program, which aimed to sponsor a rider with similar drive to the late Amy Dombroski, an American cyclo-cross racer who was killed while on a training ride in Belgium last October. Financial supporters include Raleigh, Clement, K-Edge and Lazer. Additional support is provided by FSA, Vision, and TRP components and Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team will provide race and travel support throughout the season.

"Erica is a great match for the Amy D. sponsorship," said program manager Donn Kellogg. "She's a top rider on the road, mountain bike, and cyclo-cross, and has really dedicated herself to the sport. I guess you could say she is a lot like Amy."

USA Cycling introduces Cyclo-cross National Calendar

USA Cycling has revised its calendar of races that are vying for UCI status during the 2014-15 season. The Cyclo-cross National Calendar (CXNC) will recognize top domestic events and provide them with the opportunity to achieve UCI recognition. Events that want to gain UCI status and join the Pro Cyclo-cross Calendar (ProCX) must be a part of the CXNC for one year.

There are currently three events on the CXNC including the GP Clark Natwick on September 21 in San Francisco, VeloCX on November 8 in Blaine, New Mexico, and Ruts 'N Guts from December 6-7 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

USA Cycling talent ID camp hosts 16 young cyclo-cross riders

USA Cycling hosted 16 cyclo-cross riders at its fourth annual Cyclo-cross talent ID camp held from July 21-26 in Helena, Montana.

The riders were Lance Haidet, Brannan Fix, Spencer Petrov, Gage Hecht, Jordan Lewis, Cameron Beard, Eric Brunner, Michael Owens, Jack Tanner, Denzel Stephenson, Evan Clouse, Cassidy Bailey, Calder Wood, Andy Schmidt, Scott Funston and Ben King.

The five-day camp, led by Geoff Proctor of EuroCrossCamp in Belgium, included four sessions per day: early-morning conditioning, late-morning cyclocross-specific training, afternoon rides up in the mountains, and evening classroom sessions with video analysis of European cyclo-cross races and segments of motivational footage.

"Another great week of getting some of these young top cyclo-cross riders together to learn from coaches, peers and teammates. I was very happy with how the camp went. Hard work, with full days, but refreshing to work closely with the riders and build on their motivation for the upcoming season and the future."

You can view a gallery of images from the camp here.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for our next weekly edition of cyclo-cross news, race recaps and previews of what's to come.

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