Zoe Bäckstedt wins British cyclocross elite title
18-year-old solos to her first win at the elite national championships
Yesterday, Zoe Bäckstedt claimed her first elite British cyclocross title at the national championships in Cumbria.
The 18-year-old rider powered through the tough, muddy conditions on her way to a commanding victory, finishing nearly three and a half minutes ahead of the second place finisher.
"It was a really good race. I was a bit nervous coming into it because I knew that I could do well. I rode how I would ride in a Belgian race and it seemed to pay off,” said Zoe after the race. “Those have given me a lot of confidence. The World Cup at Gavere was quite similar to today with running up and down. I'm just grateful to have been out there racing (in Belgium) and getting some experience.”
Zoe made the move to Belgium earlier this spring and has been focusing on cyclocross in the build up to her first full season as a WorldTour pro. Along with teammate Clara Honsinger, the duo have been racking in some impressive results in Europe's biggest ‘cross races.
"We did a training camp at the start of December in California and since I've come back I've been training with Clara, just having a good time doing some 'cross and road training and riding out in Belgium,” said the young Welsh rider.
Now, Zoe will be trading out her newly revealed pink kit for the British champion’s bands, following Clara’s lead who took the stars-and-stripes jersey last month at the US cyclocross championships in Hartford, Connecticut.
"It's going to mean a lot to the team to have an American national champion and British national champion in 'cross kit," said Zoe. “It's a shame we won't be in our nice pink kit now but going onto the road it will be good to race in it.”
This year was Zoe’s first time back on British soil for cyclocross in a few years, having missed out on racing at home due to the pandemic and illness. The homecoming was special not only because she was racing in front of a home crowd, but also because her family was able to come cheer her on.
Now, Zoe will head back to Belgium to focus on the rest of the ‘cross season in the build up to the U23 cyclocross world championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands next month.