Zdenek didn't have to wait long for his eighth win of the season. Our world champion secured victory number eight in Zonhoven where the second round of the Superprestige was held. Styby remains atop the standings with the maximum number of points.
After a few weeks away – with World Cup races in Aigle and Plzen – the cyclocross world returned to Belgium. The second round of the Superprestige was held on the sand of Zonhoven in Limburg.
Zdenek was first to dive into the field and immediately tried to thin out the peloton. “I had to push through because if I hesitated for a second it would have created a gap that would have been hard to close,” he commented. And so Styby went all out through the sand.
Sven Nys stayed on his wheel and Bart Aernouts, Niels Albert, Kevin Pauwels and Bart Wellens eventually joined them. The rest of the field, including a sick Klaas Vantornout weren't able to challenge the lead group. The man from West Flanders abandoned the race after two laps.
At the front the tempo changes came thick and fast and the first to attack was Nys following a flat on Styby's bike. “Two flats,” he corrects us. “I had a flat on both my front and rear tires. Luckily the pit wasn't too far away and I was quickly able to regain my position.”
And it was a good thing too because Nys kept forcing the pace and even gained 20 meters on Pauwels and Styby. Aernouts, Albert and Wellens began to struggle, but were never out of sight. Halfway through the race the lead group was back together and it was time to wait for another attack.
It didn't take long for that attack to come because the moment Nys settled down Zdenek picked up the pace. “He saw that well,” Nys said after the race. “He studied well. I've done the same thing a number of times.” Zdenek gained a seventeen second lead.
Albert led the chase for a long time, but paid for his efforts during the last lap. Pauwels then put his teammate under pressure and got to within five seconds of Styby. “I stopped riding all out because I was thinking of the Koppenberg tomorrow. But when I saw Kevin I got a little nervous.”
Pauwels came too late and had to watch Zdenek celebrate his eighth victory from nine races. “I'm really happy,” our Czech said. “It was a really hard race. The last lap was too much and I really struggled. I'm really happy with this victory.”