Zdeněk Štybar (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) will make a return to cyclocross this season, with eight races scheduled up to the New Year.
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The three-time cyclocross world champion, who has turned his focus to predominantly road racing in the last five years, will return on a custom painted Specialized S-Works Crux to race at IKO cyclocross – Essen (Dec 7), Superprestige Zondhoven (Dec 8), Sint-Niklaas (Dec 21), UCI World Cup Heusden-Zolder (Dec 26), DVV Trofee Loenhout (Dec 27), Superprestige Diegem (Dec 29), Bredene (Dec 30), and DVV Trofee Baal (Jan 1).
Štybar’s new Crux features what Specialized has dubbed as the ‘Frozen Ground’ colourway, inspired by winter in the forests nearby his home in the Czech Republic. The black and blue fade is used to give the bike a cold feel, with the cracked paint effect chosen to represent frozen pine needles, says designer Tom Briggs. Štybar was given a selection of designs to choose from and opted for this colourway.
The top-end bike of course features Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 throughout. The crankset is Dura-Ace, but is paired with a Specialized proprietary power meter as you can see just below the crank arm. The wheels are Roval CLX 50 Disc and are shod with 33mm Dugast tubulars tyres that have been customised on the tan sidewalls with Štybar’s name.
The bars and stem are provided by Pro, as he would use on his road bike, and the Crux is topped off with a Specialized Toupe saddle. The top tube is emblazoned with a number three design to represent Štybar’s cyclocross world titles.
The 33-year-old had a fine early season on the road in 2019, winning both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the E3 BinckBank Classic, though struggled for results in the second half of the season where third place on stage 19 of the Vuelta a España was his best result.
Štybar acknowledges it will be difficult to be competitive against the full-time cross racers in the upcoming races, but said he was raring to go nonetheless.
“I know it will be difficult to move to the front after starting from the last row against all those riders who by that time will have half a season under their belt, but this doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm,” Štybar said.
“I have the same goals as last year: ride my Specialized bike and have fun out there, chat with the fans and train for next season, because cyclocross is a really great way of building up for what I hope it will be another nice year with the Wolfpack [Deceuninck-Quick-Step].”