David Valero Serrano wins the dramatic wetsuit XCO World Cup in snowshoe

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Spainard David Valero Serrano won the World Cup XCO in Snowshoe, West Virginia in a race that saw many lead changes, wet conditions, and last minute drama.

France’s Titouan Carrod took the lead early on the first lap, followed by Alan Hatherley and Christopher Blevins. Hatherly kept pushing the pace into the second lap, and he and Blevins opened a small gap as Luca Schwarzbauer led the chase.

American Blevins – who won his first XCO World Cup last season in Snowshoe and won the short track on Friday – took the lead and pushed hard through the technical sections. Hatherly crashed, and Blevins was solo off the front.

Luca Brayton and Carrod reached out to Blevins, and soon after the American had to stop in the tech zone with a flat rear tire. With a 40-inch deficit, Blevins started making a comeback.

After about a lap and a half, Blevins was back at the two leaders, meanwhile, Valero Serrano was picking out the riders one by one. On lap seven, Valero Serrano joined the trio of leading riders.

Heading into the last lap, Schwarzbauer and Filippo Colombo joined the leading group, but Colombo slid quickly over a fraction of the pavement.

On a mission to win in front of a home crowd, Blevins opened a hole in the technical slope section and went on the offensive on the next muddy downhill climb. It’s back together, and Carod and Valero Serrano push speed through the feeding area.

In one of the last ascents, Valero Serrano put in his decisive attack followed by Karod, and Blevins clearly cracked.

“It was a really tough race with mud and rain and some wind as well,” said Carrod, who is second, adding that this year he feels mentally stronger than he did last year.

This win is Valero Serrano’s first XCO World Cup win. Carrod took second place, followed by Luca Pridot in third and Blevins in fourth.

On the line, Blevins gave the radio interviewer insight into his race.

Sitting in the pit area always feels like forever, so I was shocked to see 30 ‘only 5th going through the end of the start,’ Blevins said. I was like, “I’m really flattered, so I might as well go for it.” I dug to catch the leaders and gave my all. I was jerking off really hard on the last climb but I’m happy to stay on the podium.”

Blevins is participating in a series of five races in a row including the two previous World Cups in Europe, the USA National Championship in Colorado and another World Cup in Quebec next week.

“Sometimes you don’t really know when the form is coming and how it’s going to be, and it was like this weekend,” he said. “With so many races you are really unpredictable and I have found my groove and obviously extra wind from the fans here. I love the Mont-Sainte-Anne course as everyone does, and I hope it continues next weekend.”

Elite men

1. David Valero Serrano: 1:25:11
2. Tetouan Karoud: 1:25:16
3. Luca Pridot: 1:25:22
4. Christopher Blevins: 1:25:22
5. Filippo Colombo: 1:25:31

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