All eyes are on the Dutch and Belgian riders for this year's World Championships, but there is at least one rider who has quietly worked his way into second place in the overall UCI rankings, and he stands a good chance at upsetting everyone else's plans. Zdenek Stybar, the Czech rider from Fidea, has just three wins to his name this year but is motivated to make number four the big one: the World Championship.
"I have very good feelings now. I finished on the podium in last seven races," Stybar said on his web site, zdenekstybar.com. "I have a big motivation, I can go to the race without stress. When I will make a good result, it will be nice bonus for me. I trained hard, my form should be best on Sunday."
In last year's race in Treviso, Stybar out-sprinted Sven Nys to take the silver behind Dutchman Lars Boom, and he knows that the rivalry between the two teams will make it difficult to make the podium again. "It is always difficult to be on the podium in world championships. There are a lot of guys with these ambitions. Podium is great, but the most important is a rainbow jersey for the champion. There are big differences between the first and the second place. And rainbow jersey, it is a big motivation for me. But I know, that it will be very hard to win it."
Stybar tipped Boom and Nys as favourites again, with the defending champion on his home turf and Nys showing his form has not faded at the final World Cup race in Milan last Sunday. He isn't ready to call himself a favourite, however. "I would like to be... But it won'’t be so fair to speak about myself.... I know, that I am in a good shape and I should be able to ride for the best places."
The Czech rider previewed the frozen course on Tuesday, but is expecting the surface to soften up with slightly warmer temperatures. "When the rain comes, the track will be very hard and muddy. I wanted to train there in the last week, but it was impossible. But I know the track well, I was there every month from September. The track is not hard for the technique. No hard curves, no descent, just long flat."
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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.