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Ždenek Štybar staying put with Deceuninck-Quick-Step

Czech superstar fought back from a string of health issues in 2020 and 2021 to return to form just in time to sign one-year deal.

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Ždenek Štybar will stay in Deceuninck-Quick-Step colors for at least one more season.

Team officials confirmed Wednesday the popular Czech rider, who was coming off a string of health issues in 2020-21, signed a one-year extension to stay with the Belgian team.

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“I’m really happy I can stay with the team. It will be my 12th year in the squad, that’s quite an achievement,” Štybar said Wednesday. “I hope to end my career here in a couple of years. I’m so grateful, also because of the situation I was in. Last year I missed the Tour de France due to a knee problem, because of that I also wasn’t at my normal level in the classics.

“Then I came back strong this year in E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, but I had a heart rhythm problem. So it was a really difficult year,” he said. “I had to build up from zero again. I started racing again and fell in Hageland, which again made the comeback difficult. The Vuelta finally was the step I needed to get to my level for the worlds. I was happy after all those months of working and hoping it would turn out well, it also did.”

Štybar, 35, joined the Belgian team in 2011 after coming off a successful cyclocross career. Štybar is also the first, and so far only, Czech rider in history to have won a cobbled classic, winning the 2019 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke.

“We are delighted to continue together on this road that we began more than a decade ago,” said team boss Patrick Lefevere. “Zdenek is one of the most experienced riders in the peloton and an important member of our team, a real wolf who’s always giving his best for the squad. He also has a lot of quality, as evidenced by his victories, and we are confident he can still bring in strong results for the team next year.”