Stybar to skip commentating role at Worlds
Zdeněk Štybar (Etixx-QuickStep) is sidelined from defending his title at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic, on Sunday, because of a shoulder injury he sustain in a crash in October. He has also declined to commentate on the event because of the amount of time that it would take away from his training for the start of his upcoming road season, and particularly the Spring Classics.
"Last week, a doctor made some new implants, due to my crash in the Eneco Tour. As a result, I have not trained for a week," Štybar told Sporza. "If I went to Tabor, I would lose four or five days in my preparation and the Spring Classics, which are fast approaching. Because of the weather difference between Spain and the Czech Republic, I walk even further into the risk of getting sick.
"I looked forward to going to Tabor and the World Championships, to breathe in the atmosphere. But actually I would prefer to have all three bikes and ride."
The Czech rider won his third elite world title in Hoogerhiede, Netherlands, last year. Although he crashed heavily at the Eneco Tour during the road season, he was able to come back and start the cyclo-cross season in the rainbow jersey at the GP Mario De Clercq in October.
He crashed for a second time at a Kermiscross in Ardooie, however, where he separated his shoulder. The injury forced him off his bike for the remainder of the cyclo-cross season. "What I especially regret is that I did not really enjoy my world champion’s jersey."
Vermeersch ready to represent Belgium in the elite men’s race at Worlds
Gianni Vermeersch (Sunweb Napoleon Games) will represent Belgium in the elite men’s race at the cyclo-cross World Championships on Sunday in Tabor. He was named to the seven-man roster along with Tom Meeusen, Sven Nys, Kevin Pauwels, Rob Peeters, Wout Van Aert and Klaas Vantornout.
"I owe this selection of my good performance of the past few weeks," Vermeersch told Sport.be. "I am very happy that I can be there and look forward to Sunday."
Vermeersch had a strong performance at the World Cup in Hoogerheide where he placed third behind Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. He arrived at the finish line with his teammate and World Cup series winner Kevin Pauwels.
He competed on the World Championships in Tabor in 2010 as a junior rider and placed fifth. "It is a track that suited me," he said. "I've done well on the snow and ice track, but also when it was dry. I look forward to the race on Sunday."
Pauwels will look for opportunities to win in Tabor
World Cup series winner Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) said that although he does not see himself as the out-right favourite to win the World Championships in Tabor on Sunday, he will still look for opportunities to do so.
"I have long been engaged in this World Championships," Pauwels said to Sport.be. ”I’m not a favourite, but I also have opportunities.”
Pauwels believes that the two young riders Wout Van Aert from Belgium and Mathieu van der Poel from the Netherlands are the clear favourites to win the elite rainbow jersey. Both riders recently decided to compete with the elites instead of the under-23 category.
"That's Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert,” he said. “That they eventually chose to ride the World Championships with the pros, I'm not surprised. I had already taken that into account in advance. In the coming years it will be harder to get the rainbow jersey, but I also have chances.”
Pauwels has won the Tabor World Cup on two occasions during the 2011-12 season and during the 2012-13 season. When asked if he would like to win on Sunday, he said, “Yes, I would like to hang a Belgian or rainbow jersey in my closet.”