HASSELT, Belgium (VN) _ World cyclocross champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) is on the mend from knee inflammation that has hampered him since a training injury earlier this month in Mallorca. Stybar told VeloNews Friday that his knee pain has diminished and he expects to contend in both the GVA Trofee Hasselt and Superprestige Asper-Gavere this weekend.
Following a motorpacing session mid-day Friday, Stybar confirmed that daily work with his physiotherapist, Wim Mase, has improved his health. Last Sunday’s Superprestige Hamme-Zogge was particularly hard on the Czech’s knee as nearly half the course required running in deep mud. Stybar opened the season with seven consecutive wins, but has not seen the top step of the podium since his injury.
“I had so much pain that I said, ‘OK, it’s over. I’ll go stop,’” said Stybar, who nearly quit in the first lap at Hamme Zogge, but stayed on course to defend his lead in the Superprestige series. “I just went for it and I was sixth, which was really good result for me on those conditions.”
Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) won at Hamme-Zogge and took over the series lead by one point over Stybar.
Stybar injured his back while performing running intervals in the sand during a week-long Mallorca training camp in early November. He began favoring his left side after the injury and first felt pain in his left knee the next day during a 5 1/2-hour training ride on the island.
“On Monday after the race in Hamme-Zogge they told me I have inflammation on the knee, but it should recover well,” said Stybar. “But I cannot predict how long it will take and they say that it could happen that on Wednesday I feel nothing anymore or that in three weeks I could still feel it.”
Stybar did still feel discomfort Wednesday, but a regimen of ice and kenesio treatment has reduced the pain throughout the week. “The worst is that I go on the bike, I go for training, and I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “Sometimes I think it doesn’t hurt any more; that it just hurts in my mind.”
The Telenet-Fidea team, including Stybar, will return south for a two-week training camp following the Koksijde World Cup November 27. “On Monday we fly to Mallorca,” said Stybar, who uses the monthly trips during the season to lengthen his training sessions in warm weather. “We’ll train over there again for two weeks and will fly up and down for the race in Angora.”
The GVA Trofee continues Saturday with the GP Hasselt in Belgium. The Asper-Gavere stop on the Superprestige circuit follows on Sunday; VeloNews.com will cover both events.
Editor’s Note: Brian Holcombe is a reporter with VeloNews. He covers all things racing in the U.S. and has been accused of attacking too much on the VN lunch ride.