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David Valero Serrano wins wet and dramatic World Cup XCO in Snowshoe

Olympic Bronze medalist takes first-ever World Cup win. American Christopher Blevins rides to fourth place finish after a flat tire and aggressive attacks.

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Spainard David Valero Serrano won the World Cup XCO race in Snowshoe, West Virginia in a race that saw numerous lead changes, wet conditions, and drama that came down to the closing minutes.

Frenchman Titouan Carod led early in the first lap followed by Alan Hatherly and Christopher Blevins. Hatherly continued to push the pace heading into the second lap, and he and Blevins opened a small gap while Luca Schwarzbauer led the chase.

The American Blevins — who won his first-ever World Cup XCO in Snowshoe last season and won Friday’s short track race— moved into the lead and pushed hard through the technical sections. Hatherly crashed, and Blevins was solo off the front.

Luca Braitod and Carod made contact with Blevins, and shortly after the American had to stop in the tech zone with a rear flat tire. With a 40” deficit, Blevins began chasing back.

After about a lap and a half, Blevins had made it back to the two leaders, and meanwhile, Valero Serrano was picking off riders one by one. On the seventh lap, Valero Serrano joined the leading trio of racers.

Heading into the final lap, Schwarzbauer and Filippo Colombo joined the leading group, but Colombo quickly slid out on a slick section of pavement.

On a mission to win in front of a home crowd, Blevins opened up a gap on the technical downhill section and continued to attack into the next steep, muddy climb. It came back together, and Carod and Valero Serrano push the pace through the feed zone.

On one of the last climbs, Valero Serrano put in his decisive attack followed by Carod, and Blevins had clearly cracked.

“It was a really hard race with the mud and the rain and some wind also,” second place finisher Carod said, adding that this year he feels mentally stronger than he was last year.

The win is Valero Serrano’s first-ever World Cup XCO win. Carod rolled across in second followed by Luca Braidot in third and Blevins in fourth.

At the line, Blevins gave the broadcast interviewer insight into his race.

“Sitting in the pit zone always feels like forever so I was shocked when I only saw 30” in fifth place going through the start finish,” Blevins said. “I knew I was in touch so took a little bit more risk on the descent. I was like ‘I flatted already so might as well go for it.’ I just put in a dig to catch the leaders and gave it my all. I was cramping super bad on that last climb but happy to hold on for a podium.”

Blevins is on a string of five back-to-back races including the previous two World Cups in Europe, USA National Championships in Colorado, and another World Cup in Quebec next week.

“Sometimes you don’t really know when the form’s gonna come around and how you’re gonna be and that was like this weekend,” he said. “With so much racing you can’t really predict it, and I just found my groove and obviously a little extra wind from the fans here. I love the Mont-Sainte-Anne course like everyone does so hopefully can continue it next weekend.”

Elite men

1. David Valero Serrano: 1:25:11
2. Titouan Carod: 1:25:16
3. Luca Braidot: 1:25:22
4. Christopher Blevins: 1:25:22
5. Filippo Colombo: 1:25:31