Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Zdenek Stybar returned to winning ways in the final race of his 2014 road season at the Binche-Chimay-Binche on Tuesday. The Czech champion's last victory came in the Eneco Tour, where he won stage 2 and led the race, but crashed out on the fourth stage after hitting the barricades.
Stybar completed his return to form in the Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke, attacking on the wheel of teammate Niki Terpstra in a cobbled sector with 1.5km to go and holding onto his gap to win ahead of sprinters John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol).
"Niki told me that he would go full gas going into the cobbles so that I could go for a good result, and I have to thank him for the beautiful teamwork today," Stybar said.
"We knew that there was John Degenkolb and some fast guys in the group hoping for the sprint. So, why not, we wanted to try and be protagonists and see what could happen. Niki and the whole team did a great job. They rode strong all day. Thomas De Gendt spent almost the whole race in front, and Martin Velits and Stijn Vandenbergh also made it into the breakaway. They were really strong, those guys, and I'm proud to finish the job and add to the OPQS win total."
Stybar made his comeback from his Eneco Tour crash after three weeks of recovery, in the Brussels Classic in early September, then flew to Canada for the WorldTour races in Quebec and Montreal. He showed himself in the final lap of the world championship road race in the leading group, but faded back after the winning attack of his trade teammate Michal Kwiatkowski.
"After my crash at Eneco Tour my shape is not 100 percent, but I feel I'm always improving." Stybar said. "This is really great to win, because this is the first time since my crash that I'm in a good way condition wise. It was almost a relief after a hard period these last weeks."
With his form on the rise, Stybar will now turn his attention to cyclo-cross, and will wear the rainbow jersey that he won in February at two Belgian races next week. "Now I look forward to prolonging my 2014 season with a couple cyclocross races, which is always something I love to do. We will see how I can carry this good momentum."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team|
|2||John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano|
|3||Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol|
|4||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team|
|5||Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|6||Oliver Naesen (Bel) Lotto Belisol|
|7||Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol|
|8||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Belisol|
|9||Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise|
|10||Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty - Groupe Gobert|