ZDENEK STYBAR WINS WORLD CUP LIEVIN
Omega Pharma - Quick Step Cycling Team cyclo-cross racer Zdenek Stybar saw his chance on a single mistake by Kevin Pauwels (Subweb-Revor). The fall was brief, but enough for World Champion Stybar to win by 16 seconds.
Stybar attacked after Pauwels fell on the steps of a run up, on the last lap of the 2012 World Cup Lievin, and never looked back. The two had battled neck-and-neck for approximately seven and a half laps.
Stybar started the race about six men back, eventually slipping back as far as 12 places by the beginning of lap two. However, Stybar quickly moved up on his pink Specialized bicycle with Zipp wheels, and found himself in a three man breakaway with Pauwels and Radomir Simunek (BKCP).
The gap was about 10 seconds 17:46 into the race, but the trio set a pace so high on a fast, slick course that the gap grew with each passing lap. The pace of the breakaway was more than 28 km/hour. Pauwels and Stybar played cat and mouse throughout the race, trading first and second place spots on each passing lap. Simunek could not keep up, finishing 14 seconds behind Pauwels by the end of the race.
Stybar's win earns him major points in the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup Standings. He currently sits in third, with 455 points. He trails Pauwels in first place with 510, and Sven Nys with 490. Hoogerheide is all that remains in the World Cup series, on Jan. 22.