Stybar has a Christmas gift for ‘cross fans

Zdenek Stybar returns to the fields of Belgium for two 'cross races in Kerstperiode, the series of major events during the Christmas holiday.

Zdenek Stybar, three times a cyclocross world champion, will return to the fields of Belgium for two ‘cross races during Kerstperiode, the series of major European events during the Christmas holiday.

For about five seasons, the Czech focused on cyclocross and had a big impact, winning the World Cup, Superprestige, and world championships in the 2009-2010 season. He also stunned fans by returning to ‘cross for a handful of races in 2014 and then winning his third world title in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.

Heading into his seventh year with Quick-Step Floors, Stybar, 31, remains focused on road racing. “I can’t promise that I’ll be a factor in the fight for victory, especially as there’s a strong field there, with many riders which are fully focused on cyclocross. I just want to enjoy these races and do my best,” Stybar said of his cyclocross holiday plans. He’ll race in Loenhout, December 29 and Bredene, December 30.

With the road season about to start in January, some may view Stybar’s cyclocross excursion as a risky move. He’s likely focused on the spring classics, having won Strade Bianche and finished second at Paris-Roubaix in 2015. A crash and injury, such as the one he suffered in 2014 at Ardooie, would be a setback.

After the Kerstperiode, Stybar will head to Calpe, Spain for Quick-Step’s team training camp.