After a road training camp in Mallorca with the rest of the Omega Pharma Quick Step Team, Zdenek Stybar will return to his first love, cyclo-cross, for a brief period of time. It will be a short but very intense interlude for the Czech champion, who will not compete in the 2013 'cross Worlds.
Stybar will race in Essen on December 22. After Christmas, his 'cross schedule will get busier with the Zolder World Cup on December 26, Loenhout on December 28, Bredene on December 29 and Diegem on December 30.
Stybar will toast the new year on January 1 at the 'cross event in Baal, and his last competitive challenge will be at the Czech National Championship on January 12, in his native city, Stribro.
"It's in my nature to take these events very seriously. It won't be easy because I will have to measure up against the best specialists in the world but I'm going to try to do my best for me and my fans, to whom I promise to give it my all in hopes of obtaining worthy results," said Stybar.
"I'm convinced that re-embracing the world of cyclo-cross and its supporters, if only for a few races, will be magical. Normally, considering my current UCI ranking in cyclo-cross, I should manage to stay on the front lines for the starts, and this is without a doubt an advantage."
Stybar will return from Mallorca on December 19, and as of the following day he will be undergoing specific training in the area of Essen, where he usually resides.
"My detour into cyclo-cross this year will be shorter than usual, but this doesn't make it any less interesting," said Stybar. "For example, for the first time in my career I will take on three races in a row, a new experience for me. I want to try to do as many races as possible to test myself, even in the framework of a national championship."
"After the championships I will concentrate exclusively on road racing. So I will sacrifice the cyclo-cross world championships. It was a tough choice, but one I had to make. To prepare for the Worlds, I would have to focus wholeheartedly on cyclo-cross, at the risk of not obtaining satisfactory results anyway. As I've said before on various occasions, in 2013 I'm going to concentrate exclusively on road racing."
"My debut? Most probably it will be in Mallorca in the beginning of February. With the team we are still working out the details of my schedule."
Stybar recently won the Boonen and friends charity 'cross race.