Stybar solos to second national title
The 31-year-old became the 12th Quick-Step Floors rider to claim a win this season.
Zdenek Stybar captured the Czech National Road Race Title in style on Sunday afternoon, three years after his maiden success, with a dominant display in the 193km-long race held in Ziar Nad Hronom, where Quick-Step Floors teammate Petr Vakoč – second on Friday's individual time trial – took third, proving out to be the strongest rider from the first chasing group.
Runner-up in April at Paris-Roubaix, the season's most excruciating Monument, Stybar broke clear from an elite group a long way from the finish line together with Josef Cerny (Elkov-Author); the duo worked well together and at one point opened a 2:30-minute gap over a chasing group which included several World Tour riders.
Inside the final 15 kilometers, when it became obvious the victory will be played between the two, Zdenek attack on a short climb and dropped Cerny, but his countryman managed to bridge across before another strong acceleration of Stybar on the final hill of the race dispatched him for good, allowing the 31-year-old Quick-Step Floors rider to take a comfortable solo victory, his first of the season.
"We had a crazy start, with a big group going clear after 15 kilometers. I decided to join that group and it turned out to be a good move. With 50 kilometers left, I attacked with Cerny and we built a nice lead over the chasers. Then, when we were around 16 kilometers from the finish, I tested the waters, but he came back, so I waited for the last climb, inside the final three kilometers, attacking there and then arriving solo, which is always a nice feeling", said Zdenek Stybar after the race.
The Czech, Quick-Step Floors' 12th different rider to score a victory in 2017, hopes this win will bode well for the second part of the season: "I want to dedicate this success to my son Lewis, whose birthday is tomorrow. Wearing again this jersey after three years makes me very happy and confident for what's to come from now on, but also brings back the memories, because it was as reigning national champion that I won Strade Bianche in 2015, so hopefully it will help me get other nice victories."
Photo credit: ©Jan Brychta