A week after Plzen, the second World Cup race took place in Tabor today. A strong Kevin Pauwels was needed to keep Styby from winning. The Sunweb leader surged ahead early in the race and was never caught.
Zdenek had a good start and took the early lead. Two separate accelerations by our favorite were not enough to gain an advantage and Pauwels resolutely took over during the second lap. Unlike Styby, he was able to put space between himself and the rest of the pack. Styby carefully pushed on.
“Pauwels was really strong,” he said after the race. “I did well to keep up, but then had to deal with a puncture. I had to switch bikes and lost a bit too much time. I came back to the group, but it was too late. I couldn’t get much closer.”
With watchdog Klaas Vantornout in his wheel, it was difficult to close the gap with Pauwels. Even with help from Belgian champion Niels Albert, who had a bad start, the leader could not be reeled in. “That’s why I decided to go for second and make my move in the final.”
Styby placed his attack in the penultimate lap and only Vantornout was able to stay with him. Zdenek was eventually able to shake off Pauwels’ teammate in the last lap to finish second. “That’s important for the overall World Cup standings. Kevin is the leader now, but I’m just 15 points back, along with Sven Nys.”
His fitness seems to be improving. “Things are moving in the right direction. I’m not as fit as I’d like, but I’m already looking forward to the next races,” our champion said. He’ll be looking to improve upon his sixth place in the Superprestige standings in Zonhoven.