The Elite podium at 2014 Worlds, L to R: Nys, Stybar and Pauwels. © Thomas Van Bracht

Stybar will not be defending the rainbow jersey this year. © Thomas Van Bracht

Zdenek Stybar, the current world champion of cyclocross, confessed today that he was planning to miss the upcoming 2015 World Championships in Tabor.

“I feel like crying saying this, but I’m not going,” Stybar reported to CTK, citing his shoulder injury as his primary concern. Last October, during the Kermiscross van Ardooie, Stybar separated his shoulder and tore his ligaments, although it was originally thought he had broken his collarbone. this came only months on the heels of a crash at the Eneco Tour in Belgium, where he lost several teeth and ended his road season.

Stybar said that his current injuries made it difficult to carry or shoulder his bike. The timing must come hard for the rider who was likely hoping to defend his jersey this year in his home country of the Czech Republic.

Niels Albert won his fourth consecutive Superprestige Diegem today © Bart Hazen

Niels Albert was also looking to return to cyclocross . © Bart Hazen

According to our European contributor Christine Vardaros and sports media organization Sporza, Niels Albert had been hopeful on a return to cyclocross until last week. Last May, he tearfully announced his retirement, but admitted this week that he had plans to attempt to stage a comeback.

He had a long chat with Professor Marc Willing, an authority on pediatric cardiology, who explained the problem in almost brutal terms. The professor equated the scar tissue of the cyclist’s heart with a car, and told Albert that if he tried to race, it would be like matching his four cylinder engine against the six cylinders of his opponents.

Willing, clearly understanding the nature of cyclocross, told Albert that he thought the Belgian could compete in ideal circumstances of course conditions, and never in back-to-back days of racing, but the effort would come at a cost. If Albert tried to keep racing and putting more exertion on his heart, Willing said that he would be very lucky if he reached 60 years of age.

This news was enough to deter Albert, who told Sporza that the process of finding peace could begin. The former world champion has found success as a team leader for Vastgoedservice, the very team Wout van Aert is excelling with. Albert is also focusing on his bike shop, which looks to carry Ridley, and naturally, Colnago.