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Former world champion will start his short cyclo-cross season in the fourth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee series in Essen on December 21

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26.11.2013 @ 16:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Former world champion Zdenek Stybar has turned his attention to the road but will make a short and intense return to his roots when he lines up at the cyclo-cross race in Essen on December 21. The fourth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee series will kick off a campaign that may include the world championships in Hoogerheide.

 

Inspired by Lars Boom's successful transition to the road, Zdenek Stybar made a brave move when he left behind his successful career in cyclo-cross to focus on road racing with the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team. Having shown his potential in his first two seasons with the Belgian team, he decided to give the road races his full attention in 2013 and he did very little cyclo-cross racing in the winter 2012/2013.

 

The gamble paid off for the double cyclo-cross world champion as 2013 was a real breakthrough year for him as a road race. Only bad luck prevented him from finishing on the podium in - or maybe even winning - the Paris-Roubaix and in the autumn, he won two stages and the overall at the Eneco Tour and his first grand tour stage at the Vuelta a Espana.

 

With that amount of success, it is no wonder that Stybar is now fully committed to his road career but he still plans to do a few cross races in the winter. He will kick off his season on December 21 when he lines up in the fourth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee series in Essen where he will go up against the entire cyclo-cross elite.

 

The plan is similar to last year's when the race is Essen was also the first for Stybar in a short, intense series of cyclo-cross events. He defied expectations by crossing the line in first position but was relegated to 4th for irregular sprinting. In the subsequent and highly competitive Christmas period, he proved that he is still a classy cyclo-cross rider when he was 3rd in Heusden-Zolder, 2nd in Loenhout and 3rd in Diegem and he ended his season by winning the national cyclo-cross title.

 

This year he has even mentioned the possibility that he may do the world championships in Hoogerheide. Last year the battle for the rainbow jersey was held in the USA which forced Stybar to skip the event. If it fits into his road schedule, he may try to take a third win in the global contest in 2014.

 

Next year, Stybar will again ride in Omega Pharma-Quick Step colours and has made the classics the first big target of his season.

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