World Champion Zdenek Stybar has become the first rider other than Sven Nys to claim the overall Superprestige title since 2004 with a spectacular victory in Vorselaar today.
Coming into the series finale Stybar was tied with Belgian Niels Albert for the overall classification, both on 95 points, with Nys a distant third on 86.
For Nys to take his record 8th straight series title, he would have needed a miraculous race to make up the 9 point deficit. Instead, Nys' chance at a podium finish was ruined by a last-lap crash in an icy corner with Albert's teammate Radomir Simunek.
With Albert on the attack, Stybar waged a courageous comeback at the front of the race after a slow bike change dropped him out of the lead group. He reached Albert on the last lap, and the pair battled elbow to elbow with race and the series on the line. Each rider took risks to pass the other until finally Stybar surged to the front and held his position uncontested to the line.
"It was all or nothing," said Stybar. "I had to change bikes after my wheel was damaged after a crash. I had to take a lot of risks on the last two laps. I am now completely wrecked, but I won!"
It was only Stybar's second race win in the 2009-2010 series after he bested Nys in Hamme-Zogge. Albert won three rounds: Hoogstraten, Gavere and Diegem, but his fifth place finish in Zonhoven cost him dearly.
Nys also won three rounds in Ruddervoorde, Gieten and Zonhoven, but a mechanical in Diegem that prevented him from finishing the race spelled an end to his storied run in the Superprestige. He still holds the record for series race wins with 51 and overall series wins with 9.
Stybar's Superprestige series victory marked the third major title of Stybar's 2009/2010 season, following his triumph in the overall World Cup series and the World Championships last month. The Gazet van Antwerpen trophy now remains the only major series Stybar is yet to secure in his young career.
But the Czech star may have to wait a little longer to secure the Gazet van Antwerpen title. Nys retains a 14 point lead over Stybar and Albert as the series heads into its finale next weekend in Oostmalle, Belgium.