Etixx-Quick Step’s Zdenek Stybar has confirmed he will only race cyclocross “for fun” this winter as he prepares for another crack at the spring Classics on the road.
The 29-year-old has won the cyclocross World Championships three times in his careers, but admits that he will not be in a position to challenge for a fourth in Heusden-Zolder at the end of January.
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Although the Czech will ride a handful of off-road races during the off-season, he told Het Nieuwsblad that the Zolder course is too difficult to tackle with such minimal preparation.
“Zolder is not really a course for me,” Stybar said. “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.”
With a more prominent role in Etixx’s squad for the cobbled Classics, the winner of stage six of the Tour de France says he does not expect to be in contention in his ‘cross races this winter.
“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.”