Zdenek Stybar banged his handlebars in frustration at the Paris-Roubaix finish line upon racking up his second career runner-up result in the race last week, but the Quick-Step Floors rider can at least count himself fortunate not to have crashed in the final kilometre when a fan appeared to grab his arm in the velodrome.
Astute reporter from Sporza's 'Extra Time Koers' Karl Vannieuwkerke noted the near-disaster when Stybar pulled up high onto the boards as he, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac) played a waiting game in the run-up to the final sprint, which allowed Trek's Jasper Stuyven and Sky's Gianni Moscon to rejoin the lead group.
A fan seemingly grabbed Stybar's right arm (at roughly 0:43 in the video above), momentarily causing him to twist in the saddle, but the 31-year-old Czech rider managed to stay upright and continue on, barely even registering a reaction. A few seconds later he descended toward the inside of the track to contest the finish, ultimately crossing the line second.
It is not clear whether the contact with the spectator was intentional - some speculate that fans were irate with Stybar for his tactic of not contributing to the breakaway - or the result of overenthusiastic gesticulation.
Stybar's Quick-Step teammate Yves Lampaert was asked about the incident on the Sporza programme, and according to HLN, the Dwars door Vlaanderen winner pointed out that Stybar said nothing of the incident to teammates after the race.
Stybar is no stranger to run-ins with fans, and at Paris-Roubaix in particular. In his debut in the race in 2013, he hit a spectator while riding in a select group with eventual race winner Fabian Cancellara on the Carrefour de l'Arbre pavé section. The former cyclo-cross world champion showed off his handling skills and stayed on his bike, but the momentum-stopping incident saw him lose contact with the lead group. He went on to finish sixth that year.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.