Stybar looks confident in his new jersey. ? Bart Hazen

Štybar looks on tap to do his rainbow stripes proud next season © Bart Hazen

Zdeněk Štybar is showing great form as the cyclocross season nears. Yesterday the reigning cyclocross world champion won the 1.3km prologue, with the rest of his Telenet-Fidea teammates all crammed into the top 11. Tom Meeusen was three seconds back in the hilly effort, good enough for second place. Robert Gavenda was fifth, Petr Dlask sixth, Rob Peeters 10th and Bart Wellens 11th.

As Štybar told the Gazet van Antwerpen, “I barely had time to warm up, because I did not make the plane on Tuesday and had only a few hours before my start in Slovakia.”

Despite snagging fourth in the group gallop finish of the ensuing Stage 1, Štybar lost his jersey by one second to Alexander Porsev due to time bonuses at the line. Štybar commented that he wasn’t terribly concerned interested in mounting an overall GC defense, and that the purpose of his participation in the stage race was merely as preparation for the cyclocross season. Štybar was initially scored as finishing third, which would have kept him in the jersey, but after reviewing, the judges ended up placing him fourth.

According to his Telenet-Fidea team, Styby will kick off his cyclocross season with two races in his home country, the Czech Republic, with a contest in Stribo on September 25th followed by a race in Louny on the 28th. His first trip to Belgium for a race will be for the GvA trophy event in Namur.