Dascalu wins U23 cross-country MTB world title

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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