The Czech rider pinned a number again for the first time in ten weeks.
Lying some 90 kilometers west of Prague, Pilsen played host to a cycling race some two months before the restart of the World Tour season, and Zdenek Stybar was among the riders at the start of the 66km-long event, which Tuesday afternoon welcomed a peloton consisting only of Czech-based riders.
Victorious at the beginning of February on the penultimate stage of the Vuelta a San Juan, where he upset the sprinters with a canny attack inside the final kilometer of the Autodromo El Villicum, the 34-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider finished just outside the podium on the race that used a points-based system to determine the winner. For the reigning E3 Harelbeke champion, it wasn’t about the result, but about getting back that unique racing feeling he was missing since Paris-Nice.
“I raced here for the first time more than 20 years ago, and returning at the start and seeing so many young riders made me a bit nostalgic. The race was very fast, we had to cover 50 laps and we hit an average speed of 48km/h. I was really excited to pin on a number again and very happy to be there. I had a lot of fun and at the end of the day, this was the most important thing”, explained Zdenek after his first race in more than two months.
Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers