It wasn’t supposed to end like this, but Zdeněk Štybar has been around this game long enough to know that a man rarely gets to choose the manner of his exit. There will be no grand send-off for the rider who made such a smooth transition from winning cyclo-cross world titles to chasing Classics victories a little over a decade ago. Barring a late, late reprieve, his final race as a professional rider on the road will be thousands of miles from home at the Tour of Guangxi . So it goes.
“It’s not easy to end your career in China, far away from your family,” Štybar told Cyclingnews in Beihai on Friday. “But on the other hand, I’m trying not to think too much about it. I’m just racing here and I’m doing what I have to do. I would still like to do some cyclo-cross races this winter, but on the road, I think that’s it.”
Štybar’s affability has been a calling card since he first turned up in Belgium as a young man and started beating the home riders at their own game in the muddied fields of Flanders, eventually joining them on the road after his compatriot Zdeněk Bakala started backing the QuickStep team in 2011.
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