Vlad Dascalu kicks off season with a win in Chelva!

TFR XC was in Spain for some early season racing (and winning!)

Internationales Chelva has, for years, been a key World Cup precursor for the Trek Factory Racing-Pirelli XC squad. This past weekend, Vlad Dascalu, Evie Richards, Jolanda Neff and special guest star Albert Philipsen (who is signed with Lidl-Trek for 2025) took on World Cup-worthy competition and left Spain with a good indication of their early racing form. Judging by the results, 2024 is shaping up to be a good one.

Dascalu and Philipsen took home elite and junior victories, respectively. Dascalu’s victory was especially impressive. He found himself buried in the middle of the field after a poor start, then he picked his way to the front over the course of one hour, 23 minutes and 43 seconds of racing to beat Samuel Gaze by 17 seconds.

Vlad Dascalu's season is off to a blistering start. | Photo: Armin M. Küstenbrück / EGO-Promotion

Albert Philipsen continued his winning ways on a new bike. | Photo: Armin M. Küstenbrück / EGO-Promotion

Dascalu is on the hunt for his first career World Cup win. He appears more determined than ever to finally take that top step. 

Philipsen is one of the most exciting young riders in road racing, and before he formally suits up for Lidl-Trek 2025, he’ll be making a few spot appearances in a TFR kit at XC races. The 17-year-old gave a dominant performance in Chelva, winning by 2:09 over second-place Hugo Franco Gallego.

Evie Richards is looking speedy yet again. | Photo: Armin M. Küstenbrück / EGO-Promotion

The TFR XC women already have a double podium. | Photo: Armin M. Küstenbrück / EGO-Promotion

Richard took second place and Neff took fifth in the elite women’s race. Both riders are veterans of the early season warm-up circuit. They’ll use the experience to fine tune their training for their own big ambitions in a year full of high stakes.

Up next, Anton Cooper will race to regain the Silver Fern at New Zealand National Championships this weekend. Meanwhile, two-thirds of TFR XC’s American contingent, Gwendalyn Gibson and Riley Amos, will be heading to Puerto Rico to race the next two weekends.

Racing is officially underway. Keep your eyes peeled for more coverage from the race course, and be sure to get caught up on all of this season’s biggest storylines with our season preview.