Eneco Tour winner Stybar now aiming for Vuelta a España stage victory
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Eneco Tour winner Stybar now aiming for Vuelta a España stage victory

by Shane Stokes at 5:17 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Eneco Tour
 
Czech rider has greater self-belief after pulling off ‘unexpected’ win in WorldTour race

Zdenek StybarIncreasingly confident in his own abilities following his Eneco Tour success yesterday, Zdenek Stybar has now set a new target for himself: win the first Grand Tour stage of his career.

“My next race will be the Vuelta. I will try to do my best,” he said. “I go there with ambition to try and win a stage, to help the team and to enjoy the good shape I have at this moment. This week I will try to stay concentrated.

“Even the TTT is really important and I will try my best to give my contribution for the team.”

Sybar has made steady progress since he changed the direction of his career, deciding to forego the focus which saw him twice win the world cyclo-cross championship, and instead reinvent himself as a road rider.

While his first year with Omega Pharma Quick Step in 2011 was a period of transition, the results started to pick up last season. He won a stage of the Tour de Pologne and took both a stage and second overall in the Four Days of Dunkirk.

This year has been even better; he made the winning break in Paris-Roubaix, although his chances of victory were ruined when he clipped a spectator and was delayed. He ultimately finished sixth. While he missed the Tour de France due to knee surgery, he has bounced back with two stage wins plus the overall victory in the Eneco Tour, beating some well-established riders while doing so.

“I didn't ride the Tour, but I think everything happens for a reason,” he said, taking the philosophical approach to how things worked out. “It's the motto of my life. I had a little bad luck at the beginning of the season, and probably without this injury I would have ridden the Tour. But I didn't so now I am fresh and the bad luck is away, so I am happy.”

Stybar thanked his team for its help during the race, and also paid credit to its newest signing, an experienced veteran who helped him to have confidence in his abilities.

“Everybody in the team gave me a big help and big morale,” he said, expressing his gratitude. “I have to also thank Alessandro Petacchi, my roommate. He really believed in me and during the week he really motivated me in the room and that's really important for me. Also, tactically we had a great week. We didn't make any mistakes and are really celebrating this victory.”

The biggest psychological boost comes from the fact that he greatly exceeded his own expectations. “I had to wait a long time after getting injured and I didn’t know whether I’d be in shape,” he admitted. “The Tour of Poland proved that I was, but I did not come here to win.

“I was considering the top ten, and maybe, if everything went exceptionally well, the top five. But I never expected to win.”

However he did, and emphatically. As a result he has a better understanding of what he is capable of, and will be even more fired up as he builds towards the Vuelta a España, his second-ever Grand Tour. He made his debut in the race last year and had a best stage placing of eighth; twelve months on, his expectations can legitimately be set higher than that.

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