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Stybar takes emotional home World Championship win

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Zdenek Stybar wins the World Championships for the Czech Republic.

Zdenek Stybar wins the World Championships for the Czech Republic.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) is the first Czech to win the World 'Cross Championship in 19 years

Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) is the first Czech to win the World 'Cross Championship in 19 years
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zdenek Stybar wins the UCI cyclo-cross world championships.

Zdenek Stybar wins the UCI cyclo-cross world championships.
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Zdenek Stybar can't believe it all worked out.

Zdenek Stybar can't believe it all worked out.
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) celebrates his amazing victory.

Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) celebrates his amazing victory.
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Zdenek Stybar had an enormous gap over the rest of the field.

Zdenek Stybar had an enormous gap over the rest of the field.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Zdenek Stybar enjoys the moment on the finishing straight.

Zdenek Stybar enjoys the moment on the finishing straight.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Zdenek Stybar salutes his home crowd in Tabor.

Zdenek Stybar salutes his home crowd in Tabor.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Zdenek Stybar was emotional after taking the world title in his home country.

Zdenek Stybar was emotional after taking the world title in his home country.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Zdenek Stybar cruises across the line to win the world title.

Zdenek Stybar cruises across the line to win the world title.
(Image credit: Tim Van Wichelen)
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Ridley had a newly painted rainbow striped frame all ready for Stybar at the finish.

Ridley had a newly painted rainbow striped frame all ready for Stybar at the finish.
(Image credit: Tim Van Wichelen)
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Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) running to victory

Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) running to victory
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The large men's field get off to a clean start

The large men's field get off to a clean start
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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There was plenty of Belgian blue at the front of the race

There was plenty of Belgian blue at the front of the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The men head out onto the course

The men head out onto the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) was active at the front of the race

Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) was active at the front of the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Steve Chainel (France) got off to a terrific start

Steve Chainel (France) got off to a terrific start
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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American champion Tim Johnson (USA) moved up dramatically in the field to 14th place

American champion Tim Johnson (USA) moved up dramatically in the field to 14th place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ryan Trebon (USA) raced to 50th place today

Ryan Trebon (USA) raced to 50th place today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Bart Wellons (Belgium) had plenty of fans cheering him to 7th place

Bart Wellons (Belgium) had plenty of fans cheering him to 7th place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) riding away from his rivals

Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) riding away from his rivals
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) is having a magical ride

Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) is having a magical ride
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) riding third behind Sven Nys

Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) riding third behind Sven Nys
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jamey Driscoll (USA) riding to a top twenty finish

Jamey Driscoll (USA) riding to a top twenty finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zdnek Stybar (Czech Republic) taking a little breather on a descent

Zdnek Stybar (Czech Republic) taking a little breather on a descent
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) had his sights on Stybar but could not close the gap

Sven Nys (Belgium) had his sights on Stybar but could not close the gap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Isaac Saurez Fernandez (Spain) showing the results of a thawing course

Isaac Saurez Fernandez (Spain) showing the results of a thawing course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg) on a descent

Jean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg) on a descent
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremy Powers (USA) is not having his best day

Jeremy Powers (USA) is not having his best day
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Former champion Neils Albert (Belgium) dropped out with one lap to go

Former champion Neils Albert (Belgium) dropped out with one lap to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Danish champion Joachim Parbo rounding a slippery corner

Danish champion Joachim Parbo rounding a slippery corner
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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America's top crossers Jonathan Page (L) and current champion Tim Johnson

America's top crossers Jonathan Page (L) and current champion Tim Johnson
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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While the spectators had to deal with snow, the racers had mud and ice.

While the spectators had to deal with snow, the racers had mud and ice.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jonathan Page (USA) and others rounding a corner near the bottom of the climb

Jonathan Page (USA) and others rounding a corner near the bottom of the climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) running in second place

Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) running in second place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Racers take on the uphill barriers

Racers take on the uphill barriers
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) has a twenty second lead on his last lap

Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) has a twenty second lead on his last lap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jonathan Page (USA) on his last lap. He finishes 30th.

Jonathan Page (USA) on his last lap. He finishes 30th.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Silver medalist Klaas Vantornout salutes the crowd.

Silver medalist Klaas Vantornout salutes the crowd.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Stybar comes to the stage to get his rainbow bands.

Stybar comes to the stage to get his rainbow bands.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Stybar soaks in the moment.

Stybar soaks in the moment.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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The trio of cyclo-cross stars salute the crowd.

The trio of cyclo-cross stars salute the crowd.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Stybar hoists the winner's bouquet aloft.

Stybar hoists the winner's bouquet aloft.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Zdenek Stybar enjoys the feeling of being world champion.

Zdenek Stybar enjoys the feeling of being world champion.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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The elite men's podium in Tabor: Klaas Vantornout, Zdenek Stybar and Sven Nys

The elite men's podium in Tabor: Klaas Vantornout, Zdenek Stybar and Sven Nys
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy) bunny hopped the barriers.

Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy) bunny hopped the barriers.
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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First lap madness in Tabor.

First lap madness in Tabor.
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Zdenek Stybar shed a tear of happiness on the podium.

Zdenek Stybar shed a tear of happiness on the podium.
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Enrico Franzoi (Italy) hoists his bike over the barriers.

Enrico Franzoi (Italy) hoists his bike over the barriers.
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Bart Wellens gets some water after the race.

Bart Wellens gets some water after the race.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Aernouts bundles up after a frigid race.

Bart Aernouts bundles up after a frigid race.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Klaas Vantornout had his best ever world championships.

Klaas Vantornout had his best ever world championships.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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On the last lap, Stybar had such a large lead he took time to enjoy the crowd's applause.

On the last lap, Stybar had such a large lead he took time to enjoy the crowd's applause.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Nys checks to make sure his podium finish is secure.

Nys checks to make sure his podium finish is secure.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Stybar gives it everything he has en route to the world title

Stybar gives it everything he has en route to the world title
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Nys charges out of the barriers trailed by Vantornout and Zlamalik.

Nys charges out of the barriers trailed by Vantornout and Zlamalik.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Wellens (Belgium) put in a strong performance after a season slowed by his illness.

Bart Wellens (Belgium) put in a strong performance after a season slowed by his illness.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Niels Albert (Belgium) was not going to be defending his world title.

Niels Albert (Belgium) was not going to be defending his world title.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Fans had a variety of hats to keep the heat in.

Fans had a variety of hats to keep the heat in.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Zdenek Stybar, spattered with mud, rides to victory.

Zdenek Stybar, spattered with mud, rides to victory.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) was not going to let anyone take his podium place.

Sven Nys (Belgium) was not going to let anyone take his podium place.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Vervecken pushes the pace up the hill.

Vervecken pushes the pace up the hill.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Albert did not finish the race.

Albert did not finish the race.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Albert clearly was not enthusiastic about the icy course.

Albert clearly was not enthusiastic about the icy course.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Niels Albert skids around an icy turn.

Niels Albert skids around an icy turn.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nys and Vantornout chase after Stybar.

Nys and Vantornout chase after Stybar.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A fan with Stybar totem.

A fan with Stybar totem.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Radomir Simunek had some time at the front, but faded to 8th.

Radomir Simunek had some time at the front, but faded to 8th.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nys on the steps.

Nys on the steps.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys in the red zone on the stairs.

Sven Nys in the red zone on the stairs.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stybar gets some love after his win.

Stybar gets some love after his win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Zdenek Stybar comes out onto the podium to a huge cheer.

Zdenek Stybar comes out onto the podium to a huge cheer.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Zdenek Stybar with rainbow band glory

Zdenek Stybar with rainbow band glory
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys looking somber on the podium. He said his season wouldn't be ruined by losing, but it's got to hurt...

Sven Nys looking somber on the podium. He said his season wouldn't be ruined by losing, but it's got to hurt...
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Zdenek Stybar strolls to a hero's welcome at the finish line.

Zdenek Stybar strolls to a hero's welcome at the finish line.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stybar can't even believe he's done it.

Stybar can't even believe he's done it.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stybar was amazing.

Stybar was amazing.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A US rider was one of many crash victims.

A US rider was one of many crash victims.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stybar's image was reflected in the crowd's banners.

Stybar's image was reflected in the crowd's banners.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Zdenek Stybar was unbeatable on his home turf.

Zdenek Stybar was unbeatable on his home turf.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The elite men's podium: Vantornout, Stybar and Nys

The elite men's podium: Vantornout, Stybar and Nys
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) presses to the line.

Sven Nys (Belgium) presses to the line.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Look at this! Rainbow bands!

Look at this! Rainbow bands!
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The men's podium

The men's podium
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The skies were clear but it was ice cold in Tabor.

The skies were clear but it was ice cold in Tabor.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bart Wellens (Belgium) runs the steps.

Bart Wellens (Belgium) runs the steps.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stybar under the icy Czech sun.

Stybar under the icy Czech sun.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Klaas Vantornout looks like he's forgotten something very important.

Klaas Vantornout looks like he's forgotten something very important.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Zdenek Stybar delights in his win.

Zdenek Stybar delights in his win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Erwin Vervecken gave it one last go at Worlds.

Erwin Vervecken gave it one last go at Worlds.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bart Wellens shows the effort in his eyes.

Bart Wellens shows the effort in his eyes.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stybar looking smooth and focused.

Stybar looking smooth and focused.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stubar is congratulated after the finish.

Stubar is congratulated after the finish.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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This horn made plenty of noise for Stybar.

This horn made plenty of noise for Stybar.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The leftovers from the race..

The leftovers from the race..
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A Swiss fan cheers on Christian Heule, who had a spectacular race.

A Swiss fan cheers on Christian Heule, who had a spectacular race.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Klaas Vantornout leaves Sven Nys behind in pursuit of Stybar.

Klaas Vantornout leaves Sven Nys behind in pursuit of Stybar.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys made a huge push to catch Stybar.

Sven Nys made a huge push to catch Stybar.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys lost his gloves on the ice and had to ride bare-handed.

Sven Nys lost his gloves on the ice and had to ride bare-handed.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) remounts.

Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) remounts.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Erwin Vervecken, three times a world champion, didn't have it for a fourth.

Erwin Vervecken, three times a world champion, didn't have it for a fourth.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Klaas Vantornout did all he could to take second.

Klaas Vantornout did all he could to take second.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Zdenek Stybar lived up to enormous expectations to claim the elite men's World Cyclo-cross title in Tabor, Czech Republic on Sunday afternoon. Having spent more than half of the nine-lap race alone out front, a mud-spattered, but clearly overjoyed Stybar had plenty of time to celebrate his win in front of an adoring home crowd.

Belgium's Klaas Vantournout fought hard to close the gap to Stybar in the final two laps but was forced to settle for a silver medal, 21 seconds back. Belgium also secured the third step of the podium as Sven Nys powered away from Martin Bina (Czech Republic) in the dash for the line.

"I'm very happy but I still can't believe that I actually won. This is a dream. Maybe I'll realize it when I'm wearing the rainbow jersey next week," said Stybar. "Riding those last hundred meters in front of a home crowd was unbelievable. It was a moment to cherish."

Despite what turned out to be a convincing win, the new World Champion admitted he'd found it difficult to judge his advantage on the hilly and twisting Tabor course. "Once in front I didn't know what the gap was. When looking at the big screens I only saw myself, but it wasn't until later that I received info from people along the course."

In contrast to pre-race favourite Stybar, Klaas Vantornout's gritty second place finish delivered a firm message to those who had ignored him in the Belgian team.

"All season long those three names [Stybar, Nys and Albert] were the favourites and because of one good result Kevin Pauwels was added to the list," said Vantornout after the race. "I was overlooked and that motivates me; then the animal in me breaks loose."

Drawing heart from his silver medal performance, Vantornout conceded Stybar was a level above today. "I had a very good season and I rode well every week. During the Belgian national championships I finished second behind Nys and now I'm second behind the strongest rider, Stybar. Finishing second was the best possible result for me today."

Third placed Sven Nys backed up his compatriot's comments about the race winner and predicted a bright future for the Czech World Champion. "Except for his flat tyre [on the opening lap] Stybar rode a perfect race. In the long term he'll be the rider who will win most world titles."

Despite being disappointed, Nys' bronze medal performance appeared fair reward for his efforts in an incident packed race that saw him hit the ground on several occasions. "Third place isn't bad but I made too many mistakes," he said. "I rode to win today, not to finish second. Physically I was as good as Stybar but technically today everything went completely wrong."

The biggest surprise on the results sheet was Niels Albert showing as did not finish. The defending world champion pulled out two laps from the finish. Despite his pre-race status as joint favourite, Albert never featured in the race, with 12th place his highest position during the race.

US Champion Tim Johnson was the best placed of the North American riders in the field with a 14th place finish. In the closing laps, Johnson's lap times made for particularly impressive reading as he sped up in his approach to the finish line. Jamie Driscoll rode to a similarly consistent 19th place. Jonathan Page and Jeremy Powers finished in 30th and 41st, respectively. Ryan Trebon finished 50th.

Belgians and Czechs lead the charge

The elite men's field set-off under a beautiful blue sky in Tabor as the morning's snow showers retreated over the horizon. Philip Walsleben (Germany) and Ireland's Andrew Layhe were the only absentees from the 66 rider start list. The German decided not to jeopardise the remainder of his season and headed home on Sunday morning to complete his recovery from a stomach virus.

Belgium's Klaas Vantornout grabbed the hole-shot as the remaining 64 riders barrelled towards the first corner. Starting on pole position on the grid, Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) quickly assumed the lead from Vantornout as riders fought to quickly establish their early positions. While Vantornout's compatriot Sven Nys also got off to a strong start, teammate Niels Albert quickly dropped back into 10-15th position.

The course softened through the middle of the day under the sun, with ice and snow giving way to mud and slush. As the chaos of the start began to settle, the Belgians and Czechs dominated the front of the field. Stybar, Vantornout, Nys, Radomir Simunek (Czech Republic) were all present.

Stybar's lead was short-lived as he became the first of what would be a steady stream of riders heading to the pits for replacement bikes. Stber had trouble with his right pedal in the middle of the first lap. At the end of the first circuit it was Vantornout who led the field with Simunek latched onto his wheel, 15 seconds clear of the rest.

The second lap saw eight riders form a break at the front of the race. Vantornout, Simunek, Nys, Christian Heule (Switzerland), Francis Mourey (France), Gerben De Knegt (Netherlands), Kevin Pauwels (Belgium), were all there, with Stybar in close pursuit. Despite the early stage of the event, it was clear that defending World Champion Niels Albert wouldn't play a role in the final outcome as he assumed a position in the already distanced main pack.

The two laps that followed saw the lead change several more times. Simunek, Heule, Vantornout and Stybar all taking short turns at the head of the race. The constant pressure created a further selection as the quartet of Simunek, Heule, Vantornout and Stybar moved ten seconds clear of Nys, De Knegt, Pauwels, Mourey and a re-joined Martin Bina (Czech Republic).

Stybar's second surge begins

Stybar picked his moment to attack perfectly. He surged away and quickly gained 25 metres as the chase behind returned to an eight-man composition. Stybar was on fire and his advantage grew rapidly. By the end of the lap he'd built an 18 second buffer as he put his head down for the five lap dash to the finish.

As Stybar settled into the lead, the chase was reduced to just four riders: Vantornout, Nys, Bina and Heule. The Swiss dropped off the pace soon afterwards as Mourey and Simunek formed the third group on the road. The status quo prevailed for the next three laps, as Stybar consistently stretched his advantage towards half a minute. Behind, Nys put in a strong surge to close the gap to the flying Czech, but a crash in a turn put paid to his chances.

With two laps to race, Vantornout commenced a solo pursuit of Stybar's wheel, but with a 30 second gap to close there was little hope of him coming back to the inspired Czech star. Nys and Bina waged their own war, firing a series of attacks at one another but they were racing for third place.

As the bell tolled for Stybar's final lap, Vantornout had closed to 20 seconds but it was clear he would not catch his Czech rival. The leader powered through the first half of the final lap before switching to a more conservative approach to the final kilometre of the 3.2 kilometre circuit. That caution was thrown to the wind however as he passed his team pit as the first round of celebratory high-fives were exchanged.

Shaking his head in disbelief, Stybar hit the tarmac and made his way through a corridor of noise and Czech flags to claim the title of elite World Cyclo-cross Champion for the first time in his career.

Vantornout also arrived alone to take silver, while Nys beat Bina in one-sided sprint to the line.

 

Full Results
1Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)1:08:58
2Klaas Vantornout (Belgium)0:00:21
3Sven Nys (Belgium)0:00:38
4Martin Bina (Czech Republic)0:00:40
5Francis Mourey (France)0:00:56
6Martin Zlamalik (Czech Republic)0:01:02
7Christian Heule (Switzerland)0:01:07
8Radomir Simunek (Czech Republic)0:01:18
9Gerben De Knegt (Netherlands)0:01:49
10Bart Wellens (Belgium)0:02:13
11Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy)0:02:25
12Nicolas Bazin (France)0:02:26
13Steve Chainel (France)0:02:28
14Timothy Johnson (United States Of America)
15Marcel Wildhaber (Switzerland)0:02:37
16Erwin Vervecken (Belgium)0:02:45
17Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands)0:02:47
18Marco Bianco (Italy)0:02:54
19James Driscoll (United States Of America)0:03:07
20Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland)0:03:09
21John Gadret (France)0:03:11
22Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spain)0:03:13
23Laurent Colombatto (France)0:03:14
24Christoph Pfingsten (Germany)0:03:17
25Kevin Pauwels (Belgium)0:03:29
26José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain)0:03:32
27Fabio Ursi (Italy)0:03:34
28Jean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg)0:03:42
29Kamil Ausbuher (Czech Republic)0:03:52
30Jonathan Page (United States Of America)0:04:05
31Joachim Parbo (Denmark)0:04:15
32Thijs Al (Netherlands)
33Ondrej Bambula (Czech Republic)0:04:21
34Peter Presslauer (Austria)0:04:31
35Ian Field (Great Britain)0:04:43
36Milan Barenyi (Slovakia)0:04:50
37Bart Aernouts (Belgium)0:04:56
38Petr Dlask (Czech Republic)0:04:57
39Johannes Sickmueller (Germany)0:04:59
40Gusty Bausch (Luxembourg)0:05:00
41Jeremy Powers (United States Of America)0:05:13
42Paul Oldham (Great Britain)0:05:33
43Wilant Van Gils (Netherlands)0:06:07
44Jody Crawforth (Great Britain)0:06:12
45Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spain)0:06:19
46Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spain)0:06:37
47Luca Damiani (Italy)0:06:48
48Vaclav Metlicka (Slovakia)0:06:50
49Keiichi Tsujiura (Japan)0:07:27
50Ryan Trebon (United States Of America)0:07:37
51Martin Haring (Slovakia)0:08:39
52Robert Glajza (Slovakia)-1 lap
53Rodger Aiken (Ireland)
54Szilard Buruczki (Hungary)
55Bold-Erdene Boldbaatar (Mongolia)-3 laps
56Naranbat Ariunbold (Mongolia)-4
57Dror Pekatch (Israel)-5
58George-Daniel Anghelache (Romania)
DNFNiels Albert (Belgium)
DNFEgoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spain)
DNFMariusz Gil (Poland)
DNFMagnus Darvell (Sweden)
DNFEnrico Franzoi (Italy)
DNFArnaud Labbe (France)
DNSPhilipp Walsleben (Germany)
DNSAndrew Layhe (Ireland)

 

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