Zdenek Stybar goes into his second road race for Team Quick Step with less pressure on him than he had in his first race. Having placed third overall in that race, the Four Days of Dunkirk, he is now preparing to take on the Tour of Picardy.
Stybar, the reigning world cyclo-cross champion, moved into third overall in Dunkirk on the fourth stage, where he finished third and was the last rider to be able to follow eventual stage and overall winner Thomas Voeckler.
“I surprised myself,” he told L'Equipe. “I experienced a feeling of ecstasy.” He called it “a very hard day,” but took it as sign that he made the right decision in signing with Quick Step. “Many people were skeptical about my ability to make a career on the road. I have the initial answer now, even though I know that I have not yet arrived.”
The Czech is trying to keep his two disciplines separate. “I don't want anyone treating me like the world cyclo-cross champion where I am nothing on the road, where my rainbow jersey is worthless,” he said. “I give myself three years to succeed, but if I don't get some wins, I am afraid of quickly losing my motivation.”
From Picardy, he will work for captain Tom Boonen at the Tour of Belgium, before tackling the mountains for the first time at the Tour de Suisse.