Zdeněk Štybar confirms his six-race 2013/14 cyclocross season
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Zdeněk Štybar confirms his six-race 2013/14 cyclocross season

by Ben Atkins at 10:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
 
Worlds off and nationals unlikely for Czech star as he maintains Classics focus

zdenek stybarZdeněk Štybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has listed the six cyclocross races that he will take part in this winter, confirming that he will likely sit out the defence of his Czech national title as well as the World championships. The former World champion is focusing on the Spring Classics once again, and so will be limiting his winter season to avoid disrupting his preparation.

“For me, cyclocross will always be a big passion that is difficult to give up completely, even though my focus is now primarily on the road,” Stybar explained. “It’s an environment that I like a lot and that allows me to be near the fans that have supported me since my career began.”

Just as he did last year, Štybar will begin his season at the GP Rouwmoer, in Essen - the next round of the BPost Bank Trofee - on December 21st, which happens to be the headquarters of his fanclub; just as he did last year, he will then skip the World Cup race in Namur, but will ride Boxing Day’s World Cup at the motor racing circuit in Zolder.

With no points earned this season - and relatively few carried over from last - Štybar will be virtually unseeded in these races, and will face a tough task to reach the front.

“This year I will start at the back of the field because of the cyclocross rankings, so it will be difficult to achieve as good of results as in the past,” he said. “In addition, I’ve based my training on the road season, in order to be competitive in the spring classics, so I don’t really know how I compare to the rest of the group.

“The level of cyclocross is very high, and there are very strong riders,” Štybar added. “The goal is to race as good as possible and give everything — out of respect for the races, the organisers and the fans. It will be fun to participate in these races.”

Štybar just missed out on taking a victory in the 2012/13 season until he successfully defended his Czech title; although he did cross the line first in Essen before being relegated to fourth for having impeded Jan Denuwelaere and causing the Style&Concept rider to crash on the line. He finished on the podium of every other race, however, but may have trouble matching that achievement this time.

After Zolder, Štybar will take part in a race almost every day, with the Azencross, Loenhout, on December 27th, the Breden race on December 28th, and the Superprestige Diegem on December 29th. He will then ride the first race of 2014, at the GP Sven Nys, in Baal, on New Year’s Day, but - unlike in January 2013 - his season may end there.

Although he will overtake Radomír Šimunek senior if he wins his national title again, the race clashes with important team preparation for the road season; he has also stated before that he may ride the World championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands - having avoided the long journey to Louisville, Kentucky last year - but only if he feels able to perform.

“I don’t know yet if I will participate in the Czech National Championships because they coincide with the team training camp, which is an important time for building a base for the new season,” Štybar explained. “The World Championships are still a possibility. My participation will depend on how I feel in these first cyclocross races and on my level of preparation for the road season. If I am there, it will be to ride a good race.”

Štybar’s 2013/14 cyclocross schedule
12/21/2013: GP Rouwmoer, Essen (Bpost Bank Trofee)
12/26/2013: Heusden-Zolder (World Cup)
12/27/2013: Azencross, Loenhout (Bpost Bank Trofee)
12/28/2013: Bredene
12/29/2013: Diegem (Superprestige)
01/01/2014: GP Sven Nys, Baal (Bpost Bank Trofee)

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