No Styby on the course in St. Wendel Friday. The world champion opted for a quiet training ride with the French team, rather than a second reconnaissance of the course. “Ah, I'm not missing anything. The course conditions will be different tomorrow anyway. I'm not worried.”
So no stress?
What stress? No, I'm not bothered by it. I know that I've done everything to extend my title and Sunday is the day. Bring it on. And I don't have any problem with it if I have to give up the jersey.”
The course is certainly in your favor.
I do have an edge if the course is hard, but it's fine if it thaws a bit too. I'm going to give it my all.
Sven Nys looks to be the favorite if it's muddy.
I agree. If the course conditions are like they were Thursday, Nys will win by a minute. Then it'll be a course like the Koppenberg or Asper-Gavere. But the weather forecast at the moment isn't calling for those types of conditions.
Who are the other favorites?
Niels Albert, Kevin Pauwels and Francis Mourey. And add Bart Wellens to that list. I really believe he can go very far. Bart doesn't have anything to lose and has a great start.
But you're the one with the secret weapon.
You mean by bike? Yes, it's a beauty. I got is specially made by Ridley. I have to give up the rainbow jersey Sunday so I'd rather start with a more modest bike. They really created a nice one with the Czech colors.
Your last race in the rainbow jersey didn't go so well.
Maybe I was a little too enthusiastic. If I didn't start so fast I might have finished on the podium. But I've never been good in Hoogerheide. I always train really hard in the weeks before that race for the super compensation toward the world championships. And that always seems to work.
What result will make you happy on Sunday?
I'll be happy if I've ridden a good race and know I've done everything possible. The podium is nice, but not that great. I should know. I've finished second twice. The difference between a gold and a silver medal is really big. Gold is my only goal.
Are you going to move here if you win?
I'll already never forget St. Wendel. It was the start of my career. Suppose I didn't win the Under 23 world championship in 2005. Then perhaps I wouldn't have a career at all. Winning here and ending my time with Telenet-Fidea would be very symbolic.