Outstanding Zdenek Stybar takes Roubaix and World Cup lead
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Outstanding Stybar takes Roubaix and World Cup lead

by Bjorn Haake at 10:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
 

Zdenek Stybar rode a brilliant race to win the penultimate round of the cyclocross World Cup in Roubaix, France. Klaas Vantornout finished second, ahead of Sven Nys. With his win, Stybar took over the World Cup lead from Niels Albert, who had a quiet day and dropped from the front group after a steering mishap.

Stybar was visibly happy with his 'double win'. "Unbelievable. I did not expect that," he told Sporza. "I came from Mallorca yesterday, where I trained a lot. I was tired and certainly didn't have my best legs today." He said especially the beginning of the race was tough. "The first three laps, I didn't feel so well."

But things fell into place almost automatically for the Czech rider. "All of a sudden I was in first place. I just rode my pace and I was surprised to find myself alone off the front."

The training in Mallorca must have already paid off. As for the World Championships in his country, Stybar was ready, regardless of the conditions. "It is still snowing and very cold there. But I have won on ice this winter, today in the mud and in Koksijde on the sand. Let the Worlds begin!"

Taking over the lead in the UCI World Cup ranking was quite special for the Czech rider. "I was dreaming of that before the season," he said with a big smile in his face.

A less happy rider was Albert, who was clearly disappointed as he crossed the line in eighth place. "That is really annoying," he commented on his rib problems, stemming from an encounter with a spectator in last week's racing.

A start in the velodrome

The race was started in the famous Roubaix velodrome, where Paris-Roubaix finishes every year. The muddy, difficult parcours quickly stretched out the riders and it was the cross superstars - Stybar, Nys and Albert - who emerged on the front. They were undeterred by the soccer activity going on around them, as they concentrated on the difficult task at hand.

At least the weather was good for once and the sun was out. But that also made the ground deep and muddy, as the previous ice and snow was melted away by the winter sun.

Gerben de Knegt and Klaas Vantornout were able to keep the front trio somewhat in sight and merged to build a five-man front group after two laps. Steve Chainel and Erwin Vervecken, who still hopes to make the Belgian Worlds team in his final year as a pro, followed five seconds behind.

Vervecken was able to catch the front group, his motivation towards the Worlds clearly showing. Wellens, who had a bad start, was able to come to the front, Chainel in tow.

Halfway through the race the parcours was so worn out that the riders sometimes had to get off even on the descends.

In the seventh lap, Stybar attacked hard and only Wellens was able to follow. Nys, Vervecken, Vantornout and Albert were chasing hard. The latter lost a bit of time after making a steering mistake on a flat, muddy section that forced him off the bike.

Stybar shed Wellens and rode away for a brilliant solo victory.

Men's results

1 Zdenek Stybar
2 Bart Wellens
3 Sven Nys
4 Erwin Vervecken
5 Bart Wellens
6 Gerben de Knegt
7 Bart Aernouts
8 Niels Albert
9 Steve Chainel
10 Enrico Franzoi
11 Kevin Pauwels

World Cup standings

  1  Zdenek Stybar         565 points
  2  Niels Albert       551
  3  Sven Nys           480
  4  Klaas Vantornout       457
  5  Gerben De Knegt       380
  6  Kevin Pauwels       375
  7  Bart Aernouts       355
  8  Francis Mourey       332
  9  Erwin Vervecken       326
  10 Christian Heule       313

U23: Meeusen extends overall lead with another victory

Tom Meeusen won the U23 race in Roubaix and extended his lead in the World Cup. Meeusen slipped away from his two remaining competitors, Robert Gavenda and Tijmen Eising, in the final lap. Gavenda and Eising finished second and third, repsectively, seven and eight seconds behind the winner.

Meeusen has a comfortable 35-point lead, but with 60 points available to the winner, nothing is decided yet as the U23 battle it out for the final round in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, on January 24.

David van der Poel won the juniors race ahead of Emilien Viennet and Gert-Jan Bosman. Bosman defended his overall lead, ahead of Van der Poel. Bosman takes a 14-point cushion into the final World Cup round.

Women: Nash takes surprise win

Katerina Nash of the Czech Republic won the women's race, upsetting the favorites Hanka Kupfernagel and Marianne Vos. Kupferrnagel was 13 seconds back, Vos almost a minute.

Katherine Compton relinquished her lead to fourth-placed Daphny van den Brand. Vos also slipped past the American in the overall standings.

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