Defending world champion Zdenek Stybar said the course laid out at the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championship in St. Wendel, Germany, “is extremely difficult.” He has picked Belgian Sven Nys as his favourite to take the title.
After a very muddy ride on the course Thursday, Stybar, of the Czech Republic, told Sportwereld.be. “Oh yes, this is extremely difficult. This is for guys with lots of power,” like Nys.
If the conditions stay the same, Nys “is the absolute favourite. Thought I think it will change when you see the weather forecast. The frost can change a lot.”
Nys has not won much this year, but won the Worlds title in St. Wendel in 2005. His Belgian teammate Niels Albert, who won the title in 2009, has won three World Cup races and the national title this season.
"This is certainly something for Niels," Stybar said. "It's a track where you can race as a group for one hour, full gas at the higher gear. He can do that, of course, like no other. But in that very heavy mud, Nys is still the specialist. In any case, a worthy world champion in a heavy 'cross race."
Stybar not only hopes to win again, but has a reason to think so. He won the U-23 Worlds title in St. Wendel in 2005. "It's a special place. I had just signed with Fidea, now I have just signed for Quick Step. I'm superstitious, yes."