Zdenek will have to forget about a second overall victory in the Superprestige for now. Our champion fell in the pit area and finished outside the points in the Dutch village of Gieten today. The win went to teammate Tom Meeusen, who was able to hold off points leader Sven Nys.
The course in northern Holland wasn't a pool of mud today. It was frozen and extremely fast. Right down Zdenek's alley? “Yes and no,” was the answer. “I would have liked it to be different. I expected a large group to ride together.” Other riders had the same idea and they were right.
A mistake by a rider in the middle of the peloton would normally be costly. But that wasn't the case for one Niels Albert. Yesterday's winner got a bad start, couldn't settle in at the front and later abandoned the race. Bart Wellens was also unable to finish following a hard fall on the frozen ground.
And Zdenek? He had bad luck too. Our world champion was chasing when Meeusen, Nys, Dieter Vantourenhout and countryman Radomir Simunek rode away. Styby went to the pits to switch bikes where he had a painful slip and lost more than a half minute to the leaders. “A mistake that cost me dearly,” he realizes.
While Styby was battling for the last Superprestige points, the quartet at the front was increasing their lead. None of them was able to make a decisive move in the field so there was a sprint finish. Nys had bad luck in the sprint as his pedal broke off and the young Meeusen was able to secure his first big professional victory.
A large group of chasers then crossed the finish line, but it did not include our champion, who finished back in 17th. “It's very unfortunate that this had to happen. I was in so much pain during Hamme-Zogge and Asper-Gaver, but I fought for the overall standings and now that has completely slipped away. And it happened on a course that suits me. “This is big shit, but that's sport, right?”
Nys, who just missed the podium, increases his overall lead to 12 points over Kevin Pauwels. Zdenek falls to third and is 17 points back. Styby leaves tomorrow for a training camp in Spain where he will also compete in the World Cup race in Igorre next weekend.