Zdenek Stybar solos to Cyclo-cross World Championships win at home
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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stybar solos to cross Worlds win at home

by Bjorn Haake at 9:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results

Cheered on by his home fans, Zdenek Stybar confirmed his pre-race favorite status at the Cyclocross World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic. After a long solo effort, he had almost half a minute over silver medalist Klaas Vantornout. In an exciting battle for bronze, Belgian Sven Nys edged out Czech rider Martin Bina. Defending champion Niels Albert abandoned the race.

Over the last little bridge, Stybar took a long look back, then shook his head in disbelief. "I can't believe it," he said on Belgian TV. "This is so special. The crowd in the last 100m was unbelievable." Framed by Vantornout and Nys on the podium, Stybar had a big smile on his face. "I am really enjoying this," he said. But he admitted that his home win hasn't sunk in yet. "I have to sleep over this!"

Stybar was mentally fit and even a flat tire in the first lap couldn't stop him. "I was prepared that even if something happens, I can come back." Despite going from the lead to falling far back after his mishap, Stybar was back on the front very quickly.

One of his strengths was that he had a very relaxed outlook on the day. "I was not stressing out about the race. Even one hour before the start, I wasn't really paying attention to the fact that it was the World Championships. I was calm and confident." His successful season so far helped him. "I had already won the World Cup, anything else was just the icing on the cake."

Vantornout was quite happy for a runner-up. "Silver at the Belgian Championships, silver at the Worlds, I could not have expected that." Vantornout confirmed that he had no pressure. "I was not a top favorite today. I understand that, it is normal that everybody looks out for the three main guys [Nys, Stybar, Albert]."

His strength is that Vantornout never has bad results. "I was very consistent throughout the season. This is the most important race of the season, so it is really nice to be second." He didn't think there was anything he could have done against Stybar. "He was very good the whole season and won as the top favorite - that is really awesome."

Nys would have liked to win

Third placed Nys made no secret about it. "I would have rather won." The beginning went well, but the situation was confusing when Stybar attacked. "I didn't see him ride away. [Christoph] Heule was behind Stybar at that moment." Nys had other problems, too, slipping and sliding on the course. "I fell or tripped four times today."

This was the fifth time that Nys finished third in the Worlds. "I was good enough for the podium today, but Stybar had a super day. He deservedly won." Despite not winning any title this time, Nys sees no problems for the Belgian cyclocross future. "Niels Albert is still young and he is good." Although Nys cautioned that Stybar is a tough match. "He will make life hard for Albert."

The race was the last World Championships of Erwin Vervecken, which he finished in 16th place. "I was good today, but not good enough. I had a good start, but lost many places before the first pit. Overall, with three World Championships I cannot complain."

Christoph Roodhooft, the manager of Niels Albert, said after the race that it was a bit of a motivational problem, once the race turned south for the defending champion. "But life goes on," Roodhooft insisted.

The win is not only important for Stybar, but for the country. "I think this is really important for our sport here in the Czech Republic," Stybar said. "The weeks before, the press talked a lot about Tabor, that was quite amazing."

A sunny, but cold, start

At the start the sun was out, and although the temperatures were generally below freezing, at some parts the snow and ice continued to melt, leaving a big, slippery mess behind.

But the asphalt section was dry and the start went well - until the first 180-degree turn, when the riders had to funnel through. This caused a big traffic jam, but eventually stretched out the bunch.

Stybar, Vantornout and Steve Chainel had a good start. After only half a lap, Stybar flatted and cautiously steered to the pit. The Czech rider was back near the front quickly and took over the command. He really wanted to win today. Even a little slip couldn't stop him.

He had some help from Radomir Simunek near the front to slow the pace until Stybar was able to latch back on to the group. Christian Heule took over the pace making. Nys, Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels and Francis Mouray were still there.

In lap four, a group with Stybar, Heule, Vantornout and Mouray formed. Nys, Martin Bina and Simunek were about ten seconds behind. At this point, Vervecken and Albert were already at 50 seconds.

Stybar accelerated hard and put a big gap into the others. His lead was 18 seconds after five laps, with Nys, Heule, Vantornout and Bina chasing hard. Nys tried to catch Stybar by using his technical skills, jumping over some of the obstacles, where the others were forced to dismount. But even that didn't bring Nys closer to Stybar, whose lead continued to increase second by second.

Vantornout managed to escape the others and with two laps to go, he was 27 seconds behind Stybar. Nys and Bina followed another 20 seconds later. The two battled really hard for the remaining medal, with one or the other always taking a few meters. Only in the last few hundred meters was Nys able to snatch the bronze.


1 Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) 1:08:58
2 Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) +00:21
3 Sven Nys (Belgium) +00:38
4 Martin Bina (Czech Republic) +00:40
5 Francis Mourey (France) +00:56
6 Martin Zlamalik (Czech Republic) +01:02
7 Christian Heule (Switzerland) +01:07
8 Radomir Simunek (Czech Republic) +01:18
9 Gerben De Knegt (Netherlands) +01:49
10 Bart Wellens (Belgium) +02:13
11 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy) +02:25
12 Nicolas Bazin (France) +02:26
13 Steve Chainel (France) +02:28
14 Timothy Johnson (United States Of America) +02:28
15 Marcel Wildhaber (Switzerland) +02:37
16 Erwin Vervecken (Belgium) +02:45
17 Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands) +02:47
18 Marco Bianco (Italy) +02:54
19 James Driscoll (United States Of America) +03:07
20 Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland) +03:09
21 John Gadret (France) +03:11
22 Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spain) +03:13
23 Laurent Colombatto (France) +03:14
24 Christoph Pfingsten (Germany) +03:17
25 Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) +03:29
26 José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain) +03:32
27 Fabio Ursi (Italy) +03:34
28 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg) +03:42
29 Kamil Ausbuher (Czech Republic) +03:52
30 Jonathan Page (United States Of America) +04:05
31 Joachim Parbo (Denmark) +04:15
32 Thijs Al (Netherlands) +04:15
33 Ondrej Bambula (Czech Republic) +04:21
34 Peter Presslauer (Austria) +04:31
35 Ian Field (Great Britain) +04:43
36 Milan Barenyi (Slovakia) +04:50
37 Bart Aernouts (Belgium) +04:56
38 Petr Dlask (Czech Republic) +04:57
39 Johannes Sickmueller (Germany) +04:59
40 Gusty Bausch (Luxembourg) +05:00
41 Jeremy Powers (United States Of America) +05:13
42 Paul Oldham (Great Britain) +05:33
43 Wilant Van Gils (Netherlands) +06:07
44 Jody Crawforth (Great Britain) +06:12
45 Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spain) +06:19
46 Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spain) +06:37
47 Luca Damiani (Italy) +06:48
48 Vaclav Metlicka (Slovakia) +06:50
49 Keiichi Tsujiura (Japan) +07:27
50 Ryan Trebon (United States Of America) +07:37
51 Martin Haring (Slovakia) +08:39

Laps behind

52 Robert Glajza (Slovakia)
53 Rodger Aiken (Ireland)
54 Szilard Buruczki (Hungary)
55 Bold-Erdene Boldbaatar (Mongolia)
56 Naranbat Ariunbold (Mongolia)
57 Dror Pekatch (Israel)
58 George-Daniel Anghelache (Romania)




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