After a long, hard season on the road, Zdenek Stybar and his Etixx-QuickStep team have decided that he will not ride cyclo-cross this winter. The triple world champion has been scaling back his cyclo-cross commitments since switching to the road in 2011 and was forced to miss the Worlds earlier this year due to an injury.
"Zdenek has invested a lot of strength in preparation for the World Championships on the road in Richmond and must also handle jet lag," Etixx-QuickStep directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters told Het Nieuwsblad. "It seems to us therefore better not to race this winter, so Stybar can be equipped to begin the new road season."
Stybar missed out on much of the last cyclo-cross season after suffering a separated shoulder during his opening race in Ardooie. However, this will be the first time that he will intentionally skip an entire season. The Czech rider has been racing on the road since mid-February and has enjoyed a successful 2015 campaign with victory at Strade Bianche, second at Paris-Roubaix and a stage win at the Tour de France. He headed up the Czech Republic's road Worlds team and recently competed at Il Lombardia.
Speaking to Cyclingnews last month, Stybar indicated that he was feeling the effects of a long season. "I am tired already," he said. "In previous years, I have just done the races in December and it's very high intensity already. I don't know but I would love to do some races. I hope I will manage to do a few."
There is an added complication for Stybar, as he has been required to pay a visit to the dentist as a result of the serious crash he suffered at the Eneco Tour last August, also in Ardooie. Stybar broke several of his teeth after he hit a roadside barrier in the finale of stage 4 and was sent head-first off his bike. With all of this in mind, the team are looking to rest him ahead of the 2016 season.