Three-time cyclocross World Champion Zdenek Štybar (Ettix Quickstep) had another odd year near-miss at the Queen of the Classics, Paris Roubaix.
The former cyclocross star just-missed becoming the first Czech winner of Paris Roubaix after being outsprinted by Greg Van Avermart of BMC in a five-man sprint. Stybar finished second for the second time in his young Paris Roubaix career.
It seems that the odd-numbered years over the cobbles suit the Czech cyclocross champion well, but they also bring heartbreak. Stybar narrowly avoided disaster but was held up in 2013 by a spectator while in the lead and finished sixth. Two years later in 2015, he also placed second in a velodrome sprint.
The Hell of the North’s fires seemed to be burning strong today, as dry, warm conditions greeted racers and fans, a far cry from the conditions when we last saw Stybar win the World Championships in Hoogerheide in 2014.