World champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) has withdrawn from Sunday's Vlaamse Industrieprijs Bosduin cyclo-cross race in Kalmthout, Belgium, the first UCI C1-ranked event of the season on the European calendar, in order to recover from an injury to his right knee.
The 25-year-old Czech injured his knee following victory in his 'cross season debut on Saturday at the Toi Toi Cup event in his hometown of Stribro, Czech Republic.
"After the arrival I was heading back to the tent behind the podium when all of a sudden I hit my right knee against a delimitation barrier for the athletes' access route to the tent," said Stybar. "It didn't seem like anything too serious at the time, but on Sunday during a race in Baden, Switzerland, my knee started persistently bothering me."
Despite feeling bothered by his knee, Stybar nonetheless won Süpercross Baden on Sunday in a tight finish against French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) and Switzerland's Lukas Flückiger (Trek World Racing Team).
As a precautionary measure, however, Stybar and his team's medical staff have decided he would not compete in his first scheduled race in Belgium on Sunday, October 1 - Vlaamse Industrieprijs Bosduin - and take a week of rest before resuming training.
"I'm really bummed I won't be able to race on Sunday but I think it's only right that I should recover before returning to the races," said Stybar. "We're at the beginning of the season and I don't want to run the risk of the problem coming up again during the course of the season and compromising my performance."
A decision will be made about when Stybar returns to 'cross racing once he begins training again in a week's time.