Zdeněk Štybar: “It is a pity that I couldn’t win a ‘cross, but there was always someone stronger”
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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Zdeněk Štybar: “It is a pity that I couldn’t win a ‘cross, but there was always someone stronger”

by Ben Atkins at 2:56 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
 
Czech champion looks back with satisfaction at his brief Flemish cyclocross cameo

zdenek stybarZdeněk Štybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) closed his brief Flemish cyclocross season at today’s GP Sven Nys, in Baal, with another podium place. The Czech champion has ridden six races since December 22nd’s GP Rouwmoer, in Essen, and, although he was not able to mark his brief cameo with a victory, he is deeply satisfied with his performance.

‘Styby’ finished fourth in Essen, but has made every podium since, and was one of the few riders to have been able to challenge the Belgian ‘toppers’ as the rain turned the courses to mud. Today’s result in Baal was the two-time World champion’s second second place, but he conceded that - although his presence has lit up most of the races he has ridden this winter - he had little chance of beating a strong Kevin Pauwels.

“Today I had my best day of this Christmas season,” the Czech champion told Het Nieuwsblad after his second place in Baal, “but I made too many mistakes to win.

“Today, there was very little I could do against Pauwels,” Štybar explained. “Even at the beginning it was clear that he was the strongest. I didn’t wait today, and went straight to the front of the race; I wasted too many of my powers, and made too many stupid mistakes.

“Yes, that’s a result of my lack of ‘cross rhythm,” he added. “I wouldn’t do that if I had already done some good races.”

Štybar’s only remaining ‘cross race of the 2012/13 season will be the Czech championships on January 13th, where he will defend his title. After this he will continue to his preparation for the 2013 road season, where he hopes to be a key part of Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Classics team.

“I really enjoyed the many races in this short Christmas period. It is a pity that I couldn’t win a ‘cross, but there was always someone stronger,” he admitted. “I thought to myself though: 'shit, maybe I should ride an extra cross to try and win?', but it is now time to think about the races the on the road.

“I’m really looking looking forward to it. I must now recover well and after the Czech Championship, I still have a month and a half to train for the road season.

“My first big goal is the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. By then I should be 20% better than now.”

With the demands of he modern sport making it all-but impossible to combine a full road and cyclocross campaign, those that have switched from the field to the tarmac - including Štybar’s fellow former World champion Lars Boom (Blanco) - have tended to ride fewer and fewer races in the winter. It looks more than likely that the Czech will ride a similar programme in future, however.

"This was certainly a fine preparation for the road season,” Štybar explained. “I already have a lot of hours on the bike and the ‘crosses were good interval training. I just have to be careful that I don't get into shape too early.

“All in all I am very content that I've taken a lot of podium places,” he added. “I had totally not expected that.”

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