Top riders react to Zdenek Stybar’s enforced injury layoff
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Friday, December 03, 2010

Top riders react to Zdenek Stybar’s enforced injury layoff

by Ben Atkins at 4:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, World Championships
 
“The rainbow jersey should be at all the top races,” says Sven Nys

sven nysZdenek Stybar’s (Telenet-Fidea) knee injury has forced him to take the rest of the year off but, despite the fact that one of their biggest rivals is out of the picture, the news is not being greeted with any pleasure by the rest of the top cyclocross riders, according to Sporza. ‘Styby’ is a popular rider who will doubtless be missed, but it is his rainbow jersey whose absence will be felt the most.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) leads the Superprestige series, having taken the lead from Stybar two rounds ago just after the Czech sustained his injury. While the Belgian champion will increase his lead in that particular series at the next round is in Deigem on December 27th, he sees the absence of Stybar as a bad thing for the sport overall.

“It must be pretty dramatic for Zdenek but it is also a shame for cyclocross,” Nys told the Belgian media. “The rainbow jersey should be present at every major race.”

“You wish an injury on no one,” he continued, “but the injury of Stybar is also bad for me. I prefer to win or lose against the complete competition.”

While Nys is sad to be racing without the competition of Stybar, he is also aware of the advantage that this enforced rest could give the World champion when he comes to defend his jersey in January.

“He [Stybar] can now put everything into the World Championships,” he said, “while the rest of us are fighting on all fronts. Just remember [Niels] Albert in 2009.”

Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) is the one who has most to gain over Stybar in the coming weeks. Sitting in second overall in the competition, the 2009 World champion will likely take the lead in the competition after the race in Igorre, Spain on Sunday. Although he lost the World Cup to Stybar last season in similar circumstances, with a broken rib hiolding him back after a crash into an errant spectator in the Belgian Championships, Albert does not want to take the series in this fashion.

“The World Cup, as well as the World Championships, is my main goal for the season,” he said to the Belgian press, “but if I take the leader’s jersey in Igorre it will be with mixed feelings.

“I understand why he waited so long to intervene,” he said of Stybar’s decision to rest, “because I would have done the same if I’d been in the rainbow jersey.”

Albert knows better than anyone though, what advantage this could give Stybar in St Wendel, Germany on January 30th; having missed much of the 2008/09 season himself through injury, Albert stormed to a dominant victory in the 2009 World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.

“So now the World Championship is his to take?” he said, “We shall see. Two years ago after my injury I was out there immediately all guns blazing; and him?”

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