Vlad Dascalu gets back to his podium ways!

Vlad got right back on the box after missing his first podium in 7 months last weekend

Vlad Dascalu has established himself as one of the most consistent riders in XC mountain bike racing. Heading into last weekend in Lenzerheide, he had finished in the top four of the last seven short track and Olympic-distance World Cup races he had completed. 

But in Lenzerheide, high altitude, small mistakes and one very large crash (after which he was thankfully OK) combined into eighth- and 17th-place finishes in XCC and XCO, respectively.

Vlad on the move on yet another dry, fast, dusty track.

If his rivals were hopeful that Dascalu was at the start of a downturn, however, he quickly disproved the notion Friday. In Andorra, on what he calls his “home” course, Dascalu took third in short track, and returned to his now regular place on the podium.

“It feels amazing to win at one of the places I feel at home, because I spend a lot time in training camps here, and I also have a lot of friends from where I live in Spain here,” Dascalu said after the race. “It’s just amazing to start the weekend with a podium, and to see that the legs are there and the shape is good.”

A cooling vest does miracles on a hot day.

Dascalu paced himself well on yet another dry, high-paced short track race, after struggling to find his legs last week. He stayed sharp on Alan Hatherly’s wheel, and jumped into third place when Luca Braidot suffered a mechanical in the midst of a solo breakaway attempt with two laps to go. Dascalu crossed the finish line four seconds behind winner Mathias Flückiger.

He was spent after the race.

Absolutely knackered.

“It was brutal,” Dascalu said. “The last three laps I was just holding my breath. There was a lot of dust, you almost couldn’t breathe. The pace was super, super high.”

Conditions could be different for Sunday’s final, with a chance of rain forecasted between 3 and 6 p.m. local. Whatever happens, Dascalu will be ready. And if he stays upright, it’s a very safe bet you’ll find him contending at the front.