Cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar will not compete in the cyclo-cross season this year as he looks to recover from injury in time for the start of the road season.
The Omega Pharma-Quick-Step rider suffered the shoulder injury during the Kermiscross in Ardooie in October, and had to undergo surgery for ligament damage.
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“I’m very disappointed that I won’t be lining up for the start of the cyclocross season,” Stybar told his team’s official site.
“When I took the decision I was almost emotional because it’s the first time in years I have to give up cyclocross. But to be honest, right now the conditions for taking on this type of competition just aren’t there. I’m still recovering from the shoulder injury.”
While the Czech rider is able to train on the road with the injury, the demands of cyclo-cross. including putting the bike across his shoulder, have led to his team doctor confirming Stybar will definitely miss December and January, and most likely the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic, where Stybar took the first of his three World Championship victories.
“[Tabor] is where I became a world champion for the first time and I have the most extraordinary memories from that circuit,” said Stybar.
“It’s the pick of my career so far. However, the decision is being postponed until the middle of January, and will depend a lot on how I feel and how my shoulder is doing. At this moment the chance to be at the start is very small.”
Stybar has suffered alot with injury this year, as he crashed heavily into a crash barrier during the Eneco Tour, which required reconstructive facial surgery.
The cobbled classics are likely to be Stybar main target going into the 2015 season, having finished sixth in Paris-Roubaix in 2013 after an unfortunate collision with a spectator ruined his chances of victory, as well as finishing fifth in 2014 while OPQS teammate Niki Terpstra rode to victory.