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2021 UCI MTB short track world champion Christopher Blevins (Trinity Racing) did something that no American man has done in 27 years: Win a UCI World Cup mountain bike event.
The 23-year-old from Durango, Colorado snapped up the first elite men’s UCI mountain bike World Cup victory since Tinker Juarez’s win in 1994 when he won the Snowshoe, West Virginia World Cup race Sunday.
Read also: Q&A: Catching up with Christopher Blevins
“This meant absolutely everything,” Blevins said. “I’d be lying if I said I expected this or even really dreamed of it. To do it with my family and all the USA fans here.”
Blevins held off Vlad Dascalu (Trek-Pirelli) and Ondrej Cink (Kross Orlen) who completed the podium at nine seconds and 20 seconds behind the winning time of 1:15:14.
“I’m really moved. I wanted it, but I didn’t think it would be this year. It’s so much bigger than me; there’s so much work that has gone into mountain biking in the U.S.,” he added.
Mathias Flueckiger (Thomus RN Swiss Bike) flatted early in the race and finished well back of the podium positions, but had performed well enough prior to the Snowshoe race to hold onto the overall World Cup lead.
Nearly midway through the race, Blevins, Schurter, Cink, and a handful of others had a small gap on the field. Their numbers were bolstered in successive laps, but by the final circuit, just six remained on the front.
Blevins went hard in a technical section and took control of the race just as Schurter flatted, while also distancing himself from Dascalu. Cink came past Schurter to take the final podium position.
Following the Olympics, Blevins won the inaugural UCI MTB short track cross country world championships. He then traded in his knobby tires for smoother and narrower rubber and raced the 2021 Tour of Britain before returning to the United States to continue racing the UCI World Cup series.
“I just got off an eight-day race on the road [the Tour of Britain] and you learn something about conserving energy in a road race like that. I tried to dodge the wind and hide a little bit, and when it was time to attack, I held absolutely nothing back,” said Blevins. “I was just waiting the whole race for that moment. When I attacked, I really went all the way in.”