Stybar taking the win with Nys behind at UCI Cyclocross World Championships. © Thomas Van Bracht

Stybar taking the win with Nys behind at UCI Cyclocross World Championships. © Thomas Van Bracht

Yesterday, we heard from Sven Nys about his race at Worlds and what he thought of second place. Today, we hear from the new 2014 Cyclocross World Champion, ’crosser-turned-roadie Zdeněk Štybar.

On pre-race prep… I think the reason is I have done the Christmas period, all those cyclocross races, is out of basic training, as an extension of training rides. And I just arrived from team training camp and jumped in my first race in Essen, and I felt comfortable. Once I did 40 races a year, it just stays in your body, it doesn’t really move out. I was actually improving race by race, my technique was better, my explosively was better, and after Baal, where I was second behind Sven [Nys], I had a really good day but to beat Sven in Baal, it’s nearly impossible. There, I felt like, why not try to do the Worlds? But I will decide later.

On being ready for Worlds… Then, I think everyone had to expect that I would be in better shape in that period, because I trained one month since Baal, and I trained for my road season, I didn’t do any specific training for this race, except this week. But it was all power training, specific training, which I’m going to use also in my road season. But it’s very similar to the cyclocross. I just want to improve my strong parts.

On non-specific training… I was just working on it. But you have to know that I train six hour rides, so I didn’t really train three hours very fast behind scooters, I didn’t really do any super specific trainings for this race. Even a few days ago, I was like, maybe I just don’t start because maybe it’s ridiculous to just come there and be 10th, 15th, because I really didn’t feel like I had a big chance. I knew I’d have to start from behind, I knew it was going to be really hard.

On choosing to race… On Thursday when I made my final decision to race, I thought, why not try, why not accept the challenge? So I was a little more focused. The races before the World Championships, I really wasn’t nervous at all, but yesterday…

On the course… I thought it would be nothing for me, too technical, too difficult. But I knew it would be dry, sunny, which is my favorite weather, so I thought OK, I’ll have to accept the challenge when I go for it, and see how far I can come.

On being a roadie… It’s difficult to compare. I’m not as explosive as I was three years ago.

On Sven… I have a lot of respect for Sven, what he’s doing.

On Sven being stronger… On the technical parts, he was better, also because he had rougher tubes, and so he had more grip on the really difficult parts, I didn’t, I was just running. Then I changed to Rhinos and I thought I could take more risks. But he was in some parts stronger, and in other parts, I had a feeling like we could go faster.

On getting boo-ed… In the last lap, I got a few beers over my head. On one side, I understand the supporters. Maybe it’s due to the alcohol, or to the disappointment. I can accept it. It was always there, it will always be there, that some supporters will act like that. I know Sven got a couple liters as well. It’s probably the biggest amount of alcohol he gets in his whole life. It’s part of cyclocross and part of the crowd. From the 50,000 people that were here, it’s not difficult to find a few crazy drunk supporters who are going to throw the beer.

On racing again this year… I think there’s a chance I’ll do more races. For the moment, it’s difficult to say for me, it’s just too far. I’m going to keep my focus for the road season. I will see afterwards, in September or October, what I’m going to do. But this year will be the biggest change of my life, I will get married, and that will also be a bit different.

On his emotional state post-race… My father is super emotional. Yesterday we bought him some anti-stress pills, I’m afraid when he comes to these races! But he didn’t take them. He’s very emotional. My relationship with my parents is really great. It’s one of the most beautiful pictures you can imagine, your father crying, knowing how proud he is.


Check out our Pro Bike Profile: 2014 World Champ Zdeněk Štybar’s 2014 Specialized S-Works CruX Cyclocross Bike.

For more World Championship interviews, commentary, predictions and contests, check out our Worlds 2014 page here.