Eneco Tour Stage 7: Stybar Takes Stage & Overall With Brilliant Late Race Tactics
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Zdenek Stybar saw the perfect moment to go for the double victory in 208km Eneco Tour Stage 7 on Sunday. With just a minimal gap to Ian Stannard (Sky ProCycling) with 5km to go, and the peloton tired and splintered after a hard day of racing, Stybar accelerated with teammate Sylvain Chavanel there to shut down any chasing behind.
Stybar's acceleration brought him to Stannard's wheel quickly, and the two riders had an 18" gap with 2km to go. Stybar waited until inside the final kilometer, and he attacked with a few hundred meters to go on the Kapelmuur. He won the stage, and also the overall over Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) by 26 seconds.
The Stage 7 victory for Stybar was his second at Eneco Tour, and was the third stage win for OPQS. He was also 2nd in the previous stage. Stybar's double victory was the 50th and 51st (48th and 49th road) for OPQS in three disciplines in 2013. OPQS is now 4th in the UCI WorldTour Team Ranking, with 775 points.
"This is one of the best days of my life," Stybar said. "I am really happy and it is like a dream for me to come there to Eneco Tour to win two stages, almost three, and the GC. Today the stage wasn't so easy, but when Chava went away with small group on the Kwaremont I said 'OK perfect, I have to only to stay on wheels and see what's happened. But when we caught the group, I understood probably I had a chance to win Eneco Tour. I knew the last climb, Denderoordberg, was really hard. To me it was the only way to go for the win. It wasn't in my head to wait for the final sprint so I decided it was everything or nothing on the climb. I tried my maximum and I did it. When I went, a few kilometers after my attack I found Stannard in front. I really didn't know he was there. It was really great to find a rider like him. We worked well together — to be honest even he would have deserved the victory. But when I was there I was only focused and concentrated on gaining seconds for the GC, so I really went for it. Until the last meters I went a block for the GC."
Stybar noted that his success at Eneco Tour has been a far cry from his first moments recovering after surgery.
"It's really a big step for me after a very hard period, a lot of time alone in training," Stybar said. "Now I am happy. I have to thank my family, my girlfriend and the team who was always near me. To me it's like a surprise, to be the winner of this race. But I was probably fresher than other riders at this moment. I didn't ride the tour, but I think everything happens for a reason. It's the motto of my life. I had a little bad luck at the beginning of the season, and probably without this injury I would have rode the Tour. But I didn't so now I am fresh and the bad luck is away, so I am happy."
"All that has happened during this week is because of my great team," Stybar continued. "Everybody in the team gave me a big help and big morale. I have to also thank Alessandro Petacchi, my roommate. He really believed in me and during the week he really motivated me in the room and that's really important for me. Also tactically we had a great week. We didn't do any mistakes and are really celebrating this victory."
Stybar takes the success at Eneco Tour as good motivation for the next races.
"Now my next race will be the Vuelta," Stybar said. "I will try to do my best. I go there with ambition to try and win a stage, help the team and enjoy the good shape I have at this moment. This week I will try to stay concentrated. Even the TTT is really important and I will try my best to give my contributions for the team."