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David Valero wins muddy and wet XCO MTB World Cup at Snowshoe

David Valero (BH Templo Cafes UCC) of Spain has been getting close to a Mountain Bike World Cup win over the past couple of years but it took wet and dirty conditions at the top of a mountain in Snowshoe, West Virginia, for him to finally accomplish his goal of a cross country Olympic (XCO) win.

Titouan Carod (BMC MTB) took a close second and Luca Braidot (Santa Cruz FSA) was third. Despite not racing after crashing in the short track (XCC) on Friday, Nino Schurter (Scott SRAM) continues to lead the overall standings.

The heavy storms that have battered and flooded nearby Kentucky thoroughly soaked the course, making it muddy and slippery, on top of the roots and rocks, leading to some sections being cut from the circuit to the race being lengthened to eight laps. 

Carod, Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory Racing) and short track winner Chris Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing) immediately opened a gap on the first lap through a narrow rooty, rocky section, gaining 11 seconds on chasers. By the end of the lap a lead group of seven had solidified, but Valero was not part of it, falling nearly a minute behind mid-race, before starting a remarkable comeback in the final three laps.

Blevins and Hatherly got a gap on the other leaders in lap 3 before Hatherly crashed, leaving Blevins alone at the front with a series of small chase groups all within a minute. Carod and Braidot joined Blevins at the front, but by lap 7, Valero had them in his sights, and caught the three leaders by the halfway mark of the last lap. Over the top of the second to last climb, the big Spaniard attacked and no one could follow.

"I'm very happy to finally win my first World Cup," said a clearly exhausted Valero. "it was a very difficult track with the mud and rocks, the conditions were quite incredible."

Schurter's lead in the overall World Cup standings has shrunk after not racing at Snowshoe, but he still leads with 1342 points. Vlad Dascalu (Trek Factory Racing) remains second, now 115 points back, and Hatherly remains in third, a further 17 points back. Valero jumped from sixth to fourth in the standings with his win.

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