Here, Stybar wins the 2012 Liévin World Cup in France. ©Bart Hazen
With the cyclocross season quickly approaching, we’re paying attention to cyclocrossers making waves on the road, and former cyclocross World Champion turned roadie Zdeněk Štybar, riding for Omega Pharma-Quick Step, has just earned his first solo victory for the 2013 road cycling season.
Yesterday’s win for Štybar, a two-time UCI Cyclocross World champion, brings him up to third place in the tour behind Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) in first and Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling) standing in second.
With a little over a kilometer to go in stage three of the Eneco tour, Štybar broke off with three other riders in a heated race to the finish. Among those riders was Lars Boom, a former ’cross World Champion in his own right. Boom managed to finish third today after Ariel Richeze, who was closely followed by Štybar, passed him as they approached the 200 kilometer mark. Richeze, racing for Lampre-Merida, would then lose out to Štybar by just a length as they made the final push towards the stage’s finish line.
Speaking with Cycling News, Stybar noted that, “It was a really difficult final… When I did the sprint in the final I waited, waited, and waited for the right moment. I let the other guys pass, jumped on the wheel of Richeze and then I came out from his wheel and I did my sprint in the very last moment to be powerful enough to pass him.”
Though there are clear differences between the two disciplines, the presence of two cyclocross World champions in the Eneco tour’s standings really goes to show the versatility of a world class ’cross racer. As the road season winds down, results like this can serve as a preview from riders like Štybar for what to expect from them in the coming season. Stay tuned!
Stybar relaxes pre-Paris-Roubaix. © Paul Burgoine