Etixx-Quick-Step announced on Monday, during the first rest day of the Tour de France, that Zdenek Stybar has extended his contract with the team for the next two seasons. Stybar won the uphill finish into Le Havre on stage 5, attacking inside the final kilometer and holding his lead to the finish.
“I’m really happy to announce this news,” Stybar said. “I’m really happy that I can continue with this team for two more years.”
After suffering a horrific crash at the Eneco Tour and then a subsequent injured shoulder in one of the early cyclocross races last year, Stybar has bounced back to have a stellar first half of the season. The Czech won the Italian classic Strade Bianche over power-players Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and finished top-10 at Tour of Flanders.
Stybar’s breakthrough performance at Paris-Roubaix this year, claiming second behind John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), showed that his is not just a cyclocross star, but has the ability to succeed in the cobbled classics too.
“We are really satisfied with this agreement,” Patrick Lefevere, Etixx-Quick-Step CEO, said. “We believed and we invested in Zdenek when he passed from cyclocross to road racing. Zdenek is a committed guy that did a lot of progression in those years. Zdenek is a fighter and a guy who knows what he wants.”
Stybar is a three-time cyclocross world champion, only recently switching to road racing. His cyclocross skills have come in handy, as he has immediately excelled on the tough courses that feature in the spring classics, finishing sixth, then fifth at Roubaix, before 2015’s breakthrough ride. He also claimed stage 7 of the 2013 Vuelta a España.
“I’ve won a few races already on the road and would like to try and win more. I am excited to stay with this team, which has Belgian roots but an international influence. So we can grow up in a multicultural environment, and benefit from each other as a group and individuals. I have to also say the team has a good spirit. We are good friends and [that is] something important to me,” Stybar added.