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LAS VEGAS (VN) — Sanne Van Passen (Rabobank-Giant) won Clif Bar Cross Vegas Wednesday night with a last-lap attack. The Dutch pre-race favorite, Van Passen distanced a group of five riders, holding off Lea Davison (Specialized) and Alison Powers (NOW-Novartis for MS) for the win at the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex.
“The race was very hard,” said Van Passen. “It was like a road race, and I was waiting, waiting, waiting. It might have looked like it was easy, but it was so hard because the grass was so long and thick. When I attacked I was hurting very badly, my legs were bad.”
Fresh off the mountain bike world championships, Davison lit the race on fire when she rode a set of four short barriers and attacked solo from the field in the closing laps. Van Passen stayed cool in the Powers-led chase group and overcame the American Olympian late to take the victory. Davison nearly caught the Dutch winner at the line, but came through second.
“Sometimes you go in with a plan, and mine was just to be patient and see how it played out, and be in good position so that when the attacks went, I could get on the wheel,” said Davison. “But I was the only one riding that stair section, so I had a gap after that, so I guessed I would go since I had a gap. Then I got caught, and I had to ease up a little, to recover, but surprisingly I was able to go again after that, and I almost caught her in the sprint.”
American Amy Dombroski (Telenet-Fidea) rode in the front three wheels until Davison pushed ahead. The resulting pace was too high for Dombroski and she couldn’t keep pace. She wound up ninth.
“I thought this course would be harder than the last few years, but I think the last few years were less of a tactical race,” she said. “It was more of a tactical race today, more roadie smarts. I had my plan, and how I thought the race would unfold, and it didn’t unfold like that, and I wasn’t able to adjust my plan quickly enough.”