Czech Zdenek Stybar did it once in St Wendel as a U23 rider in 2005 and he did it again this year. He dropped his last remaining competitor, the formidable Belgian Sven Nys to win the Cyclocross World Championships, back to back rainbows for the 25-year old who is going to race on the road this year with Quick Step.
Young Kevin Pauwels (BEL) took third.
Styby took the holeshot and set a high pace on a course still hard-packed and fast, not technical enough for Nys. Soon a large group was off the front with five Belgians: Nys, Tom Meeusen, Klaas Vantornout, Pauwels, two Frenchmen Steve Chainel and Francis Mourey, German Phillip Walsleben and Italian Marco Fontana. American Jonathan Page made the selection but then bad luck once again with a flat tire which dropped him back. Mourey crashed hard and dropped back then it was Meeusen and Chainel’s turn to lose contact.
Stybar not liking the odds, or as he called it, “too many Belgians” came to the front and upped the pace. And only one man, Nys, could keep up. The expected duel was on with 6 laps to go. One name missing through all this is Belgian Niels Albert, another favorite for the win. After a slow start and a mechanical Albert was far back and never really mounted a chase, let’s be honest he wants to race in the Belgian National jersey from now on.
And then with four laps to go in the 11-lap race, Stybar grabbed a clean bike and attacked. Nys could not hold on and Styby sailed away to the win.
Both Mourey and Page put in amazing surges to come back to top 15 and in Mourey’s case to joining the chase group which included Pauwels, Vantornout and Walsleben. The group was together on the final lap until Pauwels launched to take third as they made their way onto the track.
Page was the highest American in 12th followed by Jeremy Powers in 16th and Jamey Driscoll in 27th. Tim Johnson was moving up early on but was taken hard on the track and was rushed to the hospital. Good news is no broken bones. On the Canadian front, both Craig Richey and Derrick St John were caught behind an early crash on the first lap and couldn’t make up the time.
Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic). “I just ruined my knee, no one really expected that I could play everything on one card, it was my really big risk because as everyone knows I didn’t ride in Pont Chateau because I was really riding, training as hard as I could in Majorca. Maybe even some people didn’t believe when I put on my twitter account how many hours I trained there, even some journalists took pictures and I think people didn’t really believe that I could keep it but I knew towards what I’m working and even with the race that I didn’t start in Pont Chateau, it was everything only for one race because that was the only way how I could make my season good. Actually today during the race I was really thinking about all the climbs I had done in Majorca, all the intervals, because I exactly recognized the pain that I had today during the race, as what I had during the training over there so I know that it was a good way and now it’s not that I will do it every year, I hope that I don’t have to do it anymore that way but it was a good choice for me.”
Sven Nys (Belgium). “The strongest guy won today, he did one explosion too many and that was why he is winning the race today. Afterwards I had also a flat tire, I lost again 5,6 seconds but it was not enough to win today but I am really happy with my second place, I’m 34 and he is 24, I am 10 years older and I won here before and I’m really happy with my second place because I’ve done everything, I raced a perfect race, just a small flat tire but otherwise I’m really happy with my second place, it was, for me, the maximum.”
Kevin Pauwels (Belgium). “I’m happy with my race. The speed wasn’t too fast, the last uphill section there I tried to make a breakaway from the rest of the group and I succeeded with a good advantage over the rest.”
Top 10 Results
1. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) 1:06:37
2. Sven Nys (Belgium) 0:00:18
3. Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) 0:01:15
4. Francis Mourey (France) 0:01:16
5. Philipp Walsleben (Germany) 0:01:18
6. Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) 0:01:23
7. Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy) 0:01:51
8. Bart Wellens (Belgium) 0:02:01
9. Christian Heule (Switzerland) 0:02:03
10. Tom Meeusen (Belgium)
12. Jonathan Page (USA) 0:02:04
16. Jeremy Powers (United States Of America) 0:02:35
27. James Driscoll (United States Of America) 0:04:57
46. Craig Richey (Canada) -5laps
51. Derrick St John (Canada) -6laps
DNF Tim Johnson (USA)