Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) took the plunge in 2013 to focus fully on road racing and the decision has already paid dividends for 27-year-old. Stybar has since won a stage at the Vuelta, two stages and the overall at the Eneco Tour and was looking threatening at Paris-Roubaix before an untimely crash on the Carrefour de l'Arbre put him out of contention. Now Stybar is enjoying a brief sojourn before he commences his 2014 campaign.
"I need a short break," Stybar explained to Sport.cz. "For two weeks I will not do anything, I'll go somewhere warm on vacation with my girlfriend. Then I have to start training again. I don't like the off-season because you lose all your fitness and have to start from scratch."
After calling his season to a close at the Tour of Beijing, Stybar travelled to the first of many Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team meetings in Paris via the United States where he spent some time in the wind tunnel.
"It was my own initiative," he said. "Over two days, I spent about 16 hours in the wind tunnel. Outside of America, I could not get in [to a wind tunnel]. There are very few tunnels, and most are occupied by Formula 1 teams. If I had wanted to go to a tunnel in England where they test the McLaren cars, it would have been impossible. It would have been too expensive. But the trip served its purpose.
"We tried our new clothing and discussed our season plans," Stybar said of his time in Paris. "I told the staff team which races I would like to ride and now they will make a schedule. But what is certain is that the first half of the season will focus on the classics."
In regards to his Cyclo-cross ambitions Stybar remains non-committal at this point, but he is still hinting at a possibly World Championships tilt.
"It will be similar to last year," he said. "I guess I'll do five races, maybe even the national championship.
"It [the CX Worlds] is still far away. The world championships attracts me but I will not make a decision until the last minute. It depends on how I feel and my road schedule as I may have to start the new stage race in Dubai in the beginning of February. We'll see."