The race of the year: Sunday in Koksijde. So far, Styby has four medals from elite men’s cyclocross World Championships. He won bronze in 2008 and silver in 2009. He then became world champion the last two years. He likes his rainbow jersey too much and that´s why he doesn’t want to give it to somebody else. “But it will be a tough race,” Styby says. The last man to win championships three times in a row was Roland Liboton (1982-84).
Is the win a big challenge for you?
Of course. I want to win, but more riders have this dream. I think this year will be the most difficult yet.
The race takes place in Belgium and there’s a lot of sand on the course. It’s always a hard race, but if I will have strong legs, I’ll have a chance to win.
You won the last two championships. Will anything other than victory be a disappointment for you?
Probably yes, but it is only sport. But if I should lose my rainbow jersey, I want to lose it after a fight. To quit the race after two laps when I’m not having a good day is not my style. I will ride from start to finish.
Which guys are your biggest rivals?
Sven Nys is in great form and I know he really wants to win. Niels Albert has to save his season by getting a good result in these championships. He was also injured and his results were not so good. And Kevin Pauwels showed us in last the World Cup race that he is strong enough at the end of the season too. But I will focus mostly on myself rather than my opponents.
You have had good results in Koksijde in recent years...
It is true. Except this season, when I was fourth. I was on the podium there the last three years.
But you had a lot of problems on this track years ago...
Yes. I was not able to get a good result there. I always suffered. But when I met Paul Herijgers in 2008, he gave me several important tips. The day after that I was second in Koksijde...
Is this course one of the hardest?
For me it is the hardest course of the whole season. There is nothing that is similar, not even the Koppenberg. You have to ride 100 percent; there is no chance to rest. And you have to concentrate for the whole race so you don’t make any mistakes in the sand.