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Dascalu wins U23 cross-country MTB world title

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The final podium – Filippo Colombo, Vlad Dascalu, Vital Albin

The final podium – Filippo Colombo, Vlad Dascalu, Vital Albin (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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The race start

The race start (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Vlad Dascalu (Romania) at the front at the end of the start loop

Vlad Dascalu (Romania) at the front at the end of the start loop (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Elite group begins to form at the end of the 1st lap with Vlad Dascalu (Romania) setting the pace

Elite group begins to form at the end of the 1st lap with Vlad Dascalu (Romania) setting the pace (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Maximilian Brandl (Germany) leading

Maximilian Brandl (Germany) leading (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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La Beatrice descent is famous for the challenge to riders

La Beatrice descent is famous for the challenge to riders (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Vlad Dascalu (Romania) leading Jofre Cullell Estape (Spain)

Vlad Dascalu (Romania) leading Jofre Cullell Estape (Spain) (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Filippo Colombo (Switzerland) leading Christopher Blevins (USA)

Filippo Colombo (Switzerland) leading Christopher Blevins (USA) (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Jofre Cullell Estape (Spain) goes down hard at the bottom of Beatrice

Jofre Cullell Estape (Spain) goes down hard at the bottom of Beatrice (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Christopher Blevins (USA) was in second place before 2 mechanicals

Christopher Blevins (USA) was in second place before 2 mechanicals (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Filippo Colombo and Vital Albin (Switzerland)

Filippo Colombo and Vital Albin (Switzerland) (Image credit: Robert Jones)
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Vlad Dascalu giving Romania its first World MTB Champion

Vlad Dascalu giving Romania its first World MTB Champion (Image credit: Robert Jones)

Vlad Dascalu became the first Romanian mountain bike world champion on Friday, winning the Under-23 men's cross-country in convincing fashion on a wet and muddy course in Mont-Ste-Anne, Canada.  Swiss riders took the other two podium spots, with Filippo Colombo taking silver and Vital Albin in third place.

Dascalu has dominated the Under-23 category this season, and the race quickly came down to seven riders - Dascalu, Colombo, Albin, Simon Andreassen (Denmark), Chris Blevins (USA), Jofre Cullell Estape (Spain) and Sean Fincham (Canada).  Rain through the night and morning ended shortly before the start of the race, but left the track slippery and muddy.

Estape was the first to attack, closely followed by Dascalu, who moved ahead before the treacherous 'Beatrice' rock garden descent.  Estape crashed heavily on the 'Beatrice', eventually dropping out of the race. 

This left Dascalu alone at the front, and he steadily rode away to win by nearly two minutes.  Andreassen and Blevins led the chase until the American faded and the Danish rider flatted.  This allowed the two Swiss riders to move into the medal positions and, although both also flatted, they managed to hold on to their podium spots.

"It is really special for me and all Romanian cycling to win this world title," said Dascalu. "Estape did an attack after the feedzone on the second lap and I followed him.  I got ahead of him [Estape], so I didn't realize he had crashed, and I just kept pushing full gas."

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