Only in Vegas: Cyclo-Cross World Cup kicks off in style (video)

Las Vegas hosts a glitzy opening round of 2015-16 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup as Wout Van Aert and Katerina Nash take the spoils - Photos from Wilmatthewsphoto.Com/Watson

Las Vegas hosted the opening round of the 2015-16 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup on Wednesday evening, with Belgian Wout Van Aerts (Vastgoedservice) and Czech rider Katerina Nash (Luna Pro) winning the respective men’s and women’s races.

The Desert Breeze Soccer Complex hosted the CrossVegas racing, with the action taking place under floodlights to provide a unique atmosphere in America’s first ever CX World Cup event.

The women’s race was up first, and Nash took a solo win after riding away from her rivals on the penultimate lap. Italian Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) came home for second at 15 seconds, with Belgian Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) in third.

British national champion Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) finished in 14th place.

Twenty-one-year old Van Aerts also took a solo win in the men’s race. After the early stages of the race were a tight-knit affair, Van Aerts chose his moment to attack with two laps to go and broke clear.

Van Aerts’ compatriot Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) was second, with current under-23 world champion Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) in third.

Britain’s Ian Field placed 26th after crashing twice, two minutes and 54 second adrift of Van Aert. Field described the course as “officially one of the hardest cross courses I have ever ridden round. Absolute fitness test!”

With victories in the opening round, both Van Aert and Nash sit at the top of the overall World Cup standings.

The Cyclo-Cross World Cup switches back to mainland Europe for the next round, hosted by Valkenburg, Netherlands, on October 18.

Katerina Nash wins the women's CrossVegas event

Katerina Nash wins the women’s CrossVegas event

Large crowds turned out to watch the floodlit racing

Large crowds turned out to watch the floodlit racing

The men's race was closely-fought during the opening laps

The men’s race was closely-fought during the opening laps

Wout Van Aert takes the victory in the men's race

Wout Van Aert takes the victory in the men’s race

UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup 2015

September 16 2015 – Las Vegas, Nevada (USA)
October 18 2015 – Valkenburg (NED)
November 22 2015 – Koksijde (BEL)
December 20 2015 – Namur (BEL)
December 26 2015 – Heusden-Zolder (BEL)
January 17 2016 – Lignières-en-Berry (FRA)
January 24 2016 – Hoogerheide (NED)