Dreams of epic battles this cyclocross season between Zdenek Stybar and Lars Boom danced in our heads. Both Stybar and Boom had announced their respective returns to ‘cross, albeit with abbreviated schedules. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

While Boom announced his tentative six-race cyclocross schedule:

After a more broad preliminary schedule, Stybar has sadly announced that his only race of the year will be the BPost Bank Trofee race this Saturday, December 5th in Essen.

His reason for the shortened season—bad form. In a team statement, Stybar said,

“After the Boonen and Friends Charity Event, I talked with my team and agreed that I wouldn’t do any cyclo-cross event this season, except Essen, and instead turn my attention to road training prior to the next season. If I compare my condition with the one I had last year I have to say that I’m a little bit behind schedule, which was obvious also last week-end in the Boonen and Friends Cyclo-cross. For me it’s a tough decision, because everybody knows how much I’m fond of this discipline, but I don’t want to race a cyclo-cross calendar without being in good condition, because it would be disrespectful for the organizers and the fans. I’m glad to ride Essen and meet my supporters there, as I have some great memories from this race and many friends there.”

With that in mind, we dedicate this Throwback Thursday to Stybar. We go back to 2011 where Stybar took his second Elite World Championship with an impressive solo victory in St. Wendel, Germany. You’re welcome back any time Styby, cyclocross misses you!

Stay tuned this weekend as we give you full coverage of Stybar’s return at Essen.