Interview: Quickstep’s Zdenek Stybar


Paul Burgoine interviews Zdenek Stybar who became National Cyclo-Cross Champion of the Czech Republic for the seventh time last weekend

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It was the only cross win of the season for Zdenek and well deserved after several top class performances against Europe’s finest, well Belgium finest mainly. I caught up with Zdenek recently at the Omega-Pharma Quickstep Team Launch at the Eddy Merckx velodrome in Gent.


In recent years Zdenek’s cyclo-cross season has impeded his performances on the road, he has told me before in a previous interview that he thought it almost impossible to do a full cross and road season, so something had to give, and it looks like Zdenek’s focus is firmly on the classics this season aiming on winning one in the future.

What will be you first race this year?
Zdenek Stybar “Normally the Majorca Challenge then to the Tour of Oman”.

I know the Tour of Flanders is a big target for you how do you feel about the race?
Zdenek Stybar “I am quite realistic about my chances and I will go there to learn. We have the best riders in the World in this team for the classics, so I can learn from the best. Like the sprinters can learn from Mark Cavendish, I can learn from Tom Boonen. He is the best classics rider in the world, so I think it will be a great experience.”

“I hope to be very strong and go with the leaders to the final and help them for the win, or try something on my own, but of course do everything according to team tactics”.

How do you feel about Paris Roubaix Zdenek?
Zdenek Stybar “I think I need to be a few more kilos heavier for Paris-Roubaix. It’s difficult to say. Maybe I will be better at Roubaix, but I see myself more as a contender for Flanders”.

I asked if he felt his build up this season has left him better prepared for the road
Zdenek Stybar “Well, you know this is the first year for me like this but the long distance training helped. I got the intensity from the cross and I will now do more long distance training and improve on my road racing skills“.

Will you be going to the World Cyclo-Cross Championships?
Zdenek Stybar “No, I am not going. If it was in Europe, I would have done it, but I will lose too much time with all the travelling to the US so I don’t just want to turn up for a ride. If I went, I would want to go for the win. Thing is, if I do go it, would be difficult to compete with my specific training for the classics”.

Who do you think will win?
Zdenek Stybar “I think Kevin Pauwels, the parcours will suit him“.

How do you feel about the increase in popularity of Cross in the USA?
Zdenek Stybar “Yeah, I think it’s good they have the championships there. The European riders have to go there and get a feel for the place and the atmosphere, how the tracks ride etc: but it’s not like doing a weekend of racing here in Belgium then doing it again one week later. It’s not possible in the US but maybe if they done say one month and scheduled in six races, this might be possible and I think it will be really great and everyone can go there”

You have been so close to getting a big win in Belgium this year
Zdenek Stybar “Yeah, there was always someone stronger but I didn’t really train for cyclo-cross. I was missing out on the small but important things like the acceleration in the final lap or just a little bit in technique I was not as good as in previous years and without those qualities it’s hard to win races“.



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