Zdenek finished fifth in today’s World Cup race in the Spanish city of Igorre. The win went to Kevin Pauwels, who crossed the line alone to book his seventh victory of the season. The result solidifies his lead in the general classification.
Rob Peeters had the best start. He and the forgotten Italian Enrico Franzoi led during the first lap. Sven Nys then took over with an impressive attack. Klaas Vantornout was the only rider who could follow as both our Styby and the in-form Kevin Pauwels were a bit too far back.
Nys gained about a 10 second lead, but was unable to avoid a comeback by Pauwels. The world champion was unable to bridge the gap with a single surge and rode some 50 meters behind for a lap before losing sight of the leaders.
A group including Bart Aernouts and Tom Meeusen formed a bit further back and would eventually catch our man half an hour into the race. A crash tore the chasing group apart and Styby found himself back in fifth place. He wouldn’t get any closer to the leaders after that.
The win eventually went to Kevin Pauwels, who crossed the line 45 seconds ahead of Nys who had some back luck with a puncture. Meeusen completed the podium. Zdenek remains third in the general classification, but is 50 points behind Pauwels.
“It was a tough race,” Styby said afterward. “I rode up front for a while, but when they accelerated I didn’t have enough power to follow. I was running on empty the last three laps. I don’t know why, but I’m optimistic about what’s to come.”
Zdnek won’t be racing next weekend. “To recuperate,” he said. “Tomorrow I’m going to fly to Belgium for a lunch with the team sponsors. I’m looking forward to that. In the evening I’ll fly back to Mallorca and stay there for another two weeks.”