The Focus Stairs at Clif Bar CrossVegas are back. The set of 4 stairs that all racers at cyclocross season opener faced in the final 200 meters of the difficult course will return in 2017 thanks to the renewed sponsorship of Focus Bikes. Introduced in 2013, the Focus Stairs were relocated last season in a redesign of the course. As a result, these 4 steps took on a more critical role in determining the winners and losers of CrossVegas as the last obstacle before the final straightway to the finish.
Case in point: in the 2016 Elite Women’s race Sophie de Boer charged past her breakaway mates to be the first into the Focus Stairs, thereby allowing her to sprint ahead for the victory over Katerina Nash and Katie Compton. The Dutch rider acknowledged the importance of taking the lead heading into the stairs in capturing the victory.
Andreas Krajewski, Senior Brand Manager of Focus Bikes commented, “We enjoy being part of CrossVegas, it’s an iconic race that celebrates all that’s great about cyclocross from the fun of the Wheelers & Dealers race to the highly competitive Elite races. Cyclocross is in our DNA as Focus was founded by three times world champion Mike Kluge so we love to celebrate this sport. Especially at CrossVegas we like the opportunity it provides to interact with our customers and athletes. It’s also great to see the fans packed around the Focus Stairs.”
Adding to that, CrossVegas director Brook Watts said, “The location of the Focus Stairs is either a heartbreaker or a gift depending on your ability level. I watch some racers struggle to run them while some pros seem to gain speed as they sail up them. They become a magnet for spectators and photographers so that must mean they’re a success.”
CrossVegas has a history of challenging course features, starting with the power-sucking thick grass. The man made features include the velodrome-styled ramp, 2 sets of flyovers, an uphill sand pit dubbed “The Dune” and multiple stairs. Watts states, “It’s a Three Ring Circus and a classic study in pain.” The course design enhances the spectator and VIP experience with expanded expo area, great food selection and strategically placed beer tents.
In 2016 racers from over 20 nations competed. The Women’s Elite was won by Sophie de Boer of and the Men’s Elite was won by World Champion Wout Van Aert of Belgium.