Less than one month on from a dramatic crash in the Eneco Tour, Czech champion Zdenek Stybar is back in action at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, but upon seeing the same high-footed barriers that lined the course, the same kind that caused his face plant in Ardooie, he was seen discussing the dangerous nature of the course with a UCI commissaire.
Still sporting broken teeth that cannot be capped until the broken bones of his upper jaw are healed, the Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider pointed out that the feet, which stick out 30cm into the road, are a constant hazard for riders in particular during the type of finishing sprint where he was injured.
"I don't think they should be allowed anymore. I think it's very dangerous for us," Stybar told Cyclingnews.
"There was a crash in the middle of the road, and everyone swerved to go around it, and I ended up very close to the barriers. My front wheel went right into the foot of the barrier," Stybar told Cyclingnews. "It's 30cm out in the road. You need that room for error. Without them you could still get out of it, but with them in the way, it's impossible."
After a round of plastic surgery, Stybar has braces on his top teeth that hold the remaining pieces of them in place while the bone heals. He will have the teeth repaired later this year, but even in spite of the injury he was happy just to be back to racing.
"I'm glad to be back on the bike so soon," he said ahead of his second race back after the Brussels Classic. "It's hard, I honestly am not feeling so good, but I will try to get the best out of it. It could be much worse."
Stybar is still hoping to get some results out of the rest of the road season, and then will decide on when he will display the rainbow jersey he won at the 2014 Cyclo-cross world championships earlier this year.
"Most likely it will be the same programme as last year, I will definitely do the Christmas season," he said. Whether or not he will defend his title when the championships are held in his home country remains to be seen.
"It's in the Czech Republic, so it will be difficult to say no," he said. Stybar won his first elite world title in Tabor in 2010, and went on to win a second one the following year, and his third after a truncated 2013-2014 season. "It is too far away to decide, but I'd love to be there again in front of the crowd in Tabor, it changed my career. It would be nice to give something back to them again."
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.