Gravel racing might be all the rage right now, but three time world cyclocross (CX) champion Zdenek Stybar, has just announced he will once again use a winter of CX racing to prepare himself for the 2020 road season.
And to remind us all that CX bikes are still relevant, Specialized has created a unique, custom version of its Crux CX bike for the Czech rider to race on.
Based on the ‘frozen ground’ of Stybar’s training grounds in the Czech Republic, the custom paint job was designed by Tom Briggs, a senior graphic designer at Specialized.
The paint job is inspired by “frozen pine needles on the ground” of Stybar’s home training grounds in the Czech Republic. Specialized
The blue and black colours tie in with the colours of his Deceuninck–Quick-Step team, but also evoke the feeling of the cold, winter climate in Stybar’s home country.
Speaking about the details of the paint job, Briggs said: “The area of the Czech Republic where Stybar is from is forested by mountain pine trees called Borovice Blatka in Czech. I looked at what happens to the ground as the ice, snow and pine needles all interact… We used a crackle effect in the paint that I thought was an accurate representation of the frozen pine needles on the ground.”
The bike is built up with a Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 groupset, in a double chainring set-up – either because Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 doesn’t officially support single ring setups (unlike Shimano’s new GRX groupsets) or Stybar just prefers it that way.
The wheels are from Roval, Specialized’s in-house wheel brand, and are wrapped with 33mm Dugast tubulars stamped with Stybar’s name; likely indicating they’ve been made especially for him. PRO provides the finishing kit.
Speaking about the new bike, Stybar said: “I think it’s the nicest bike I ever had”. Specialized
Stybar is due to race the new bike at the IKO cyclocross in Essen, Belgium on 7 December, before racing at Zondhoven, Sint-Niklaas, Zolder, Bredene, Loenhout, Diegem and Baal.
Saying that “it will be difficult to move to the front after starting from the last row,” Stybar nevertheless has “the same goals as last year: ride my Specialized bike and have fun out there, chat with the fans and train for next season, because cyclocross is a really great way of building up for what I hope it will be another nice year with the Wolfpack.”