After strong Paris-Roubaix, Stybar hopes to ride the Tour de France
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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

After strong Paris-Roubaix, Stybar hopes to ride the Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 6:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix
 
Double world cyclo-cross champion proud of Classics performance

Zdenek StybarSpeaking after a strong performance in Paris-Roubaix, where he looked like a potential winner until he clipped a spectator’s camera at the Carrefour de l’Arbe sector of cobbles and was delayed, Zdenek Stybar has taken major encouragement from the race. “I realize that I can be proud of what I have achieved,” the Czech Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider told Sporza.

Now, confidence boosted, he wants to make his debut in the biggest race in cycling. “The Tour? I’d like that. Who wouldn’t want to ride in the service of Mark Cavendish?”

The power he showed on Sunday could well be of benefit to the sprinter in his leadout train, and is something that the team’s general manager Patrick Lefevere will look at in the months ahead. However Stybar added that right now, he wants to spend time with his family before thinking further about that.

Stybar won the world cyclocross championship in 2010 and 2011, joining the Quick Step team in the second of those years. Since then he has gradually adjusted to the longer distances and other requirements of road racing, notching up a stage win and fourth overall last year in the Four Days of Dunkirk, plus a stage win in the Tour of Poland.

His Paris-Roubaix performance is the clearest indication yet that the 27 year old could have a very big career ahead of him. With his bike handling skills, the northern Classic could well be the perfect race for him to target. Forty years ago Roger De Vlaeminck showed how cyclocross agility can help handle the cobbles, and Stybar will hope to also go on to win the Hell of the North.

He certainly has an attraction to the race. “On Saturday I was with [Stijn] Vandenbergh peering at the cobblestones. We were like two students for an exam,” he said.

His strong ride the following day has reinforced that fascination. “Everyone knows that the spring Classics are the reason why I left cyclocross behind me. Since I took this decision, everything was for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”

He finished sixth in Sunday’s race but had he not had the mishap with the spectator, would likely have been scrapping it out with Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) and Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) for the win. That’s an important realisation for his Omega Pharma Quick Step team, which would likely have required Stybar to ride for Tom Boonen had the Belgian not been injured.

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