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Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
Spring Classics remain Czech's main priority
Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is not ruling out lining up at the cyclo-cross world championships in Hoogerheide in February, provided that it does not interfere with his preparation for the Spring Classics.
“There are a few conditions attached – I need to feel fit and above all, it has to fit with my preparation for the spring classics, which are my absolute priority,” Stybar told Het Laatste Nieuws.
The Czech won back-to-back world titles in 2010 and 2011, but has increasingly focused on the road since signing for QuickStep in March 2011. He rode a limited cyclo-cross programme in the winter of 2012-13 and skipped the Worlds in Louisville, before going on to enjoy a fine road season.
Stybar finished sixth in his debut Paris-Roubaix after crashing out of the winning move when he collided with a spectator on the Carrefour de l’Arbre. He went on to win the general classification of the Eneco Tour and a stage of the Vuelta a España during a strong run of late summer form.
Stybar confirmed that he will ride the “Boonen and Friends” charity cyclo-cross race in Mol on November 30, and has also pencilled in a number of Belgian cyclo-cross races around the Christmas period, including Zolder on December 26. However, he was reluctant to commit to riding the Czech national championships, where he is in line for a seventh successive title.
“I still have doubts about the Czech national championships,” he said. “I would have to travel to the far east of the country for that national championships and that threatens to cost me a lot of time and energy.”
Reigning world cyclo-cross champion Sven Nys welcomed the prospect of Stybar’s participation, noting on Twitter that Stybar’s reduced winter racing programme would help to make him “a big favourite” for the Worlds.