The fifth race of the GVA-Trofee took place in Loenhout today. World champion Zdenek Stybar took another fine start after his good ride in the World Cup of Heusden-Zolder. Stybar took a head start, but after a small error the chase group bridged the gap.
Niels Albert and Lars Boom took over from the world champion and opened up a gap. Some laps later Albert went on alone, while Stybar was in a chase group with Sven Nys, Bart Wellens and Rob Peeters.
The four chasers reeled in Boom, who had to let go the group Stybar quickly. In the meanwhile Albert extended his lead to half a minute, which made clear he would win the race. In the battle for the 2nd place Stybar outsprinted Nys. With his 2nd place Stybar did a good job in the overall rankings of the GVA-Trofee. He is now standing 2nd, only 12 points behind overall leader Pauwels who finished 6th today.
"It was a hard race but I'm happy with the way I competed. At the beginning of the 3rd lap I made an error in a muddy patch. However things are going much better than two weeks ago. I still don't feel well but I'm sure I'll improve race after race. Anyway, I've regained my feeling for the race; this is the most important thing", Stybar said after the finish.
A part of the cyclocross peloton started in the Sylvestercross of Bredene today. World champion Zdenek Stybar wanted to win after his second places in Heusden-Zolder and Loenhout. The world champion took a fast start and was followed by Dieter Vanthourenh
Some later Jan Denuwelaere catched up with the 2 leaders. After a small error of Vanthourenhout the other 2 leaders went on together. Stybar seemed on his way to a solo victory after he had dropped Denuwelaere in the final part of the race. The Belgian rider caught Stybar again in the final lap, so a sprint-a-deux had to bring the decision. Stybar launched the sprint from far, but saw Denuwelaere passing him in the final metres. So Stybar had to be satisfied with another second place.
Stybar wasn`t the only rider of the Quick-Step Cycling Team who participated in the Sylvestercross. Guillaume van Keirsbulck also started in Bredene and finished 32nd.
Today Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team wrapped up their first training camp. On the roads of Calpe and the climbs surrounding this lovely Spanish community, our riders covered about 850 kilometres over 6 training sessions.
Everything went according to plan and fortunately there were no falls or injuries during the course of the workouts. We're happy with the work we've done", Tom Steels says. "Compared to last year we pedalled more, and we also got lucky with the weather, which was always perfect."
The team was divided into 3 groups according to skills and objectives.The first group was made up of riders who'll be flying to Australia and who need to be in good shape already in January. A second group, ideally led by Tom Boonen, was made up of athletes who will have to be competitive in the first part of the season, including the classics. A third group was formed of climbers and athletes who are gunning for the major Tours. We also did specific work with the team sprinters in some of the training sessions."
In addition to the workouts the riders were busy in various activities like daily core stability sessions, which were well received by the athletes, as well as group and individual meetings aimed at defining competitive schedules for each individual rider. "We're also very pleased with the atmosphere that was created on the squad. The team building at the beginning of December and this training camp really served to cement the group. There's a lot of motivation to do well and meticulous attention to details. There were also some collective leisure activities that helped to further strengthen team spirit.
Today the guys flew home for the Christmas holidays, but they'll be back to train in Spain starting as soon as January 4th, in Benicassim. "Compared to Calpe, the training routes in Benicassim aren't as hard. So we'll work more on rhythm and speed to be ready to go as soon as the first races start. The guys who'll be in the Tour Down Under won't be with us, but the athletes who are riding in Argentina will be. It will be an important camp for them. We're also going to work specifically on time trial racing, in all its aspects."
The countdown to the 2012 season continues...