Styby secured his first big win of the season today. The world champion was the best rider on the fast Hamme-Zogge course and emerged victorious in the third round of the Superprestige. Kevin Pauwels and Sven Nys completed the podium.
This year’s Hamme-Zogge course was different than past editions of the race. The lack of rain made it feel like an early season cross as the course was very fast. But at just 7 degrees, the thermometer clearly showed that it’s November.
The start went smoothly and Zdenek quickly took the lead. Together with the in-form Kevin Pauwels, he towed the rest of the riders along. The favorites didn’t make any moves for a while and everything came back together.
Niels Albert, Sven Nys and Bart Wellens then forced the pace for a lap, but it was the impressive acceleration by Styby in the sixth lap that would decide the race. The rest of the riders just looked at each other, and Zdenek quickly gained a 20 second lead.
“I thought that someone would come with me when I attacked,” he said after the race. “Nobody wanted to lead the chase and that’s why I was able to get away. Then I gave it all to increase my lead and that went well. The fact that nobody reacted? Yeah, that helped too of course.”
The chasing group behind Zdenek didn’t really get going until later in the race. Albert and Nys gave it a go, but couldn’t get any closer to our Czech, who now had a 30 second lead. “After that I felt I had control of the race and I was able to ease up a bit.”
Until the last lap. “Then I gave it my all again. It was a lap I won’t soon forget. The enthusiastic crowd gave me goose bumps. Everyone kept applauding. This is a welcome victory. I had to wait a little while for it. I’m over the moon.”
Kevin Pauwels arrived some 10 seconds after Zdenek crossed the line. Nys finished third and Superprestige leader Albert was fourth. Our favorite now sits in third place in the overall standings, five points behind the Belgian champion.
“This victory is great for my moral. How is my fitness? You won’t hear me complaining. It’s important too, because there are races on both Saturday and Sunday the next two weeks. Next week is Hasselt and Gavere.”
Photo Š Cyclephotos.co.uk
By on 13/11/2011