Zdeněk Štybar contrite and apologetic after wayward Essen sprint
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zdeněk Štybar contrite and apologetic after wayward Essen sprint

by Ben Atkins at 12:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
Czech champion accepts responsibility for bringing down Jan Denuwelaere

zdenek stybarJan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) took only the second, and by far the biggest, victory of his career today in the Bpost Bank Trofee race in Essen, Belgium, in bizarre circumstances. The 24-year-old former motocross rider from Poperinge, West Flanders, was overtaking Zdeněk Štybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in the sprint for the finish, when the Czech champion moved off his line and narrowed the between himself and the barriers; Denuwelaere came down, and slid across the line on his side, but Štybar was disqualified.
Ironically, Denuwelaere’s only previous victory in an elite race came on December 29th last year, when he beat Štybar in a similar two-up sprint. That time he took the victory in a more conventional manner over the then World champion.

Denuwelaere was understandably upset as he lay on the finish line, being attended by several paramedics; although a stretcher was assembled for the rider, however, he was able to get up and walk to the podium.

“I went past Štybar in the sprint,” he told Sporza’s cameras almost as soon as he was back on his feet. “If I hadn’t won, I would have been disappointed. He went off his line.

“I was pushed by everyone. At the start I also came together with [Sven] Nys, so I am glad I beat him,” he added. “This sprint was not fair.”

The race jury saw the incident in similar clarity, immediately relegating Štybar from victory in what had been his first competitive race of the season.

“The decision was easy after we had seen the images,” a member of the jury told Sporza. Difficult, this was not. Denuwelaere wins, Štybar is fourth. It is unfortunate that this ‘cross ended like that.”

Štybar himself knew immediately that he had been in the wrong, holding out his hand as he crossed the line. The two-time former World champion went back to speak to Denuwelaere as he was still being attended on the ground by the medics, and was contrite as he was interviewed afterwards.

“It was a great pity what happened in the sprint and that the ‘cross had to finish that way,” he told the Sporza cameras. “I would like to express my apologies to Jan; I’m pleased that he has nothing broken.”

Later on, Štybar was even more apologetic, as he commented on his Twitter feed.

“Damn, damn, damn, damn, from this action I'll sleep soooo bad,” he wrote. “I'm very sorry to Jan. It was my mistake and I fully accept 4th place!

“He was simply too fast going [sic]. He deserve this win,’ he added. “I'm very happy he is all right. Enjoy the win Jan! You were very strong!”


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