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“I recognize the cross”

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In 2017, he was not there at all, but this week he is all the way back. Zdenek Stybar begins today in his series of four crosses in a row against the unbeatable Mathieu van der Poel.

“I recognize the cross”

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Zdenek Stybar: ‘I do not exclude that I start in the world CHAMPIONSHIP cyclo-cross, but the chance is small. These crosses I see in the first place, as a preparation to the season.’ Nico Vereecken/pn

In 2017, he was not there at all, but this week he is all the way back. Zdenek Stybar begins today in his series of four crosses in a row against the unbeatable Mathieu van der Poel.

“I recognize the cross”


Bram Vandecapelle

Brussels Afternoon: zelnacka (zuurkoolsoep). in the Evening: potato salad with fish, schnitzel with vegetables, fried carp with almonds and homemade christmas cookies as dessert. That was the menu of Zdenek Stybar (33) on christmas eve with his family in the Czech Stribro. Christmas day was a little less smooth to digest. For 13 hours he started together with his wife Ine and son, Lewis, a journey of more than 700 kilometers in the direction of Heusden-Zolder.

Zdenek, welcome back. You have apparently something to scoot?

‘I celebrate every year Christmas with my family in the Czech republic, that I would not for all the money in the world to miss. Friday, we drove over there yesterday, we came back. I would have liked a few more laps to ride on the track in Heusden-Zolder, but it was already pitch dark when we arrived.’


Not ideal preparation for a long car trip.

“That’s right, but physically I am alright. After the ploegstage the beginning of this month in Calpe, I was already very close to my ideal weight for the classics. I have Monday still have three hours trained without gloves in a temperature of less than 2 degrees.’

Last year, reed you have no career, two years ago, two and four years this year. We may speak of a revival of the crosser Stybar?

“I have not yet
so many crosses followed
on television. By the dominance
by Mathieu, there is also not so much
to see it, eh’

‘Oh, no. Last year was just not good. Two years ago I drove two crosses. Before I was adjusted, it was over. I didn’t enjoy it. Four crosses in seven days is better. The rhythm of one day cross followed by a day of rest will ensure that I will quickly come. I hope to have a good time.’

You will come not only to enjoy? At the beginning of december, I went into there all videos on where you are firmly on the train was in the sand.

‘That was because it just too bad the weather was in Belgium with the bike training. I had also just got a new cross bike and wanted that test. It was not easy. My crosstechniek is completely gone. When I was a loop made in the forest, I took not a single bend as it should. I was embarrassed about how slow I rode.’

Two years ago, it was your 18th in Loenhout and 10th in Bredene. We can now better see results?

“Gosh, I have no special crossvoorbereiding behind the back. On stage with the Quick Step team in Calpe worked for me too just the same wegtrainingen as the rest of the selection. The day before yesterday I walked like every year in the kerstloop in my hometown. A course of 3.6 km. My time was 12 minutes and thirty seconds. Last year I ran more than a minute faster. I now be aware of what retained during the strip down. If you’re downhill going, and you walk your legs really broken. That I could not create against the organizers of the Attic.’

You already have many crosses on tv followed?

‘Love to but account with Wout van Aert at the world CHAMPIONSHIPS in Denmark

‘Not so very much. By the dominance of Mathieu, there is not so much to see, eh. ’

The cross is boring, says the tenor of the previous season.

“I understand somewhere. The rest runs for the second place. If they are second, is that actually already a victory. I find it fun to Mathieu to look. His technique is really extraordinary. The problem is that each time a minute of driving away from the rest.”

The people yearn for the duels, such as between Stybar, Nys, Albert and Boom.

‘Who is to come, never to return. I recognize the cross, sometimes not. There is otherwise driven in my time. We had a different format of the contest. We drove the first two rounds quickly, leaving half of the rest to come back in the slotronden are as hard to drive as we could. Mathieu runs quickly in the first round, the second round and also the other seven rounds. If he has a great day, could Niels Albert that also sometimes. Only has Mathieu in every week, a great day.’

How do you look at the performance of Wout van Aert in the past weeks?

“It is, for now, to fight for the second place. As a world champion is not like that. I have also experienced this. In the winter of 2011-2012, I ended eleven times second and six times third. Either I was beaten by Niels Albert, or by Kevin Pauwels, or by both.’

Wout van Aert is now thirteen second places. Look in his head.

‘Difficult, eh. You are good, you are doing the best you can, but bots every week on the same opponent. Eventually you get really reluctantly on the stage.’

Is it well with Van Aert this season?

‘Certainly. Wout last year an excellent first introduction to the classics. I think that he has that experience now to bring to this season. Quietly building towards the end of January to peak at the world CHAMPIONSHIPS and top form than by pulling up the end of april. Like but account with Wout in Denmark.’

You were just like him already three times world champion. What is the probability that on 3 February at the start of the world cup?

“I do not close it out, but the chance is small. In the first place, I see these crosses as a preparation to the season. If I make this week really already participate for the prizes and chance at the world cup on the stage, I want to think about it.’

Other ambitions

You’re after this year’s end of his contract with Quick Step. Michel Wuyts thinks that Sven Nys you would like to hire a full-time crosser of you to make.

‘For the time being I have other ambitions. If I ever feel that I am on the road no longer perform as it should, that I will be more crosses, but that is really not an issue. I still have quite a bit of goals on the road. Paris-Roubaix, the world CHAMPIONSHIPS, the other classics. The road is not yet finished with me.”

Yet you seem to already have a few years on-the-spot to raring on the road.

“Do you think? In 2016 I finished second in Strade Bianche, but I was later sick. In 2017, I was second in Paris-Roubaix. Last year I was very consistent. I took in every classic in the top ten. Only the outlier was missing. I Win one, then we speak of a superseizoen.’

Today WB-manche in Zolder. 10 am: juniors, 11.20 pm: promises, 13.30 hours: women, 15 pm: elite men

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