Three-time world cyclocross champion Zdenek Stybar confirmed there won’t be a fourth, at least not this season.
The 29-year-old Stybar said he’s racing a handful of cyclocross races this season “for fun,” but admitted he’s nowhere near what it would take to challenge for the rainbow stripes in Heusden-Zolder on January 30-31.
“Zolder is not really a course for me,” Stybar told Het Nieuwsblad. “It’s too technical. And if you want to go well at the worlds, you have to train and prepare specifically for it. The [world championships] are certainly not an option in 2016.”
The Czech superstar participated in an exhibition race over the weekend in Belgium at an event called “Boonen and Friends,” and said that the handful of cyclocross events he plans for this season will be fun and for training, not to win.
Stybar earlier indicated that he would race up to five cyclocross events this season, but stepped back from that commitment. Stybar has been linked to start at events at Diegem (December 27), Loenhout (December 29), Bredene (December 30), Bale (January 1), and Leuven (January 3).
“I will decide by next week how many cyclocross events I will do,” Stybar said. “It certainly won’t be five. More like two or three. I want to have fun, for the fans and myself. It won’t be to win. I see myself finishing around 10th.”
First in his mind is to prepare for a run at the northern classics next spring on the road, and he wants to do nothing to risk his approach to the important one-day classics over the pavé. Second last year at Paris-Roubaix and at E3 Prijs-Harelbeke, and a winner at Strade Bianche, Stybar wants a “big one” in 2016 on the road.
“I will be at a team training camp in Spain next month,” he said. “We’ll decide everything then.”