Alena Ivanchenko narrowly beats Zoe Backstedt in junior World Championship time trial

An emotional moment as British rider Backstedt was knocked off the top spot by the final rider

Alena Ivanchenko
(Image credit: Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN/Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

Alena Ivanchenko of Russia claimed the junior World Championship time trial title, narrowly beating Britain’s Zoe Backstedt to the rainbow jersey. 

The junior women’s race, which took place over 19.3km from Knokke-Heist to Bruges, came down to a tense battle between those two riders, with Backstedt dominating her rivals early in the day.

But Ivanchenko, the last rider on the road, was just a few seconds ahead of Backstedt at the intermediate check, opening up the power in the second half of the course to take victory by 10 seconds. 

It was an emotional moment for Backstedt and her dad Magnus Backstedt, the retired former pro and Paris-Roubaix winner, who was commentating on the race for GCN. 

Backstedt, 16, put in a phenomenal ride on the pan-flat course in Flanders, setting a time of 25-15 and beating her nearest rival by 15 seconds. 

During her wait in the hot seat, Backstedt watched as Ivanchenko set ominous times out on the course, eventually reaching the finish 10 seconds up, with an average speed of 46.1km/h, adding the rainbow jersey to the European TT title she won earlier this month. 

Backstedt took silver, while Germany’s Antonia Niedermaier claimed bronze, 25 seconds off the victory. 

It’s another World Championships medal for the Backstedt family, after Elynor claimed the bronze in the junior TT during the Yorkshire 2019 Worlds, shortly before she joined Trek-Segafredo. 

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Madelaine Leech from Great Britain also put in her own strong performance, eventually finishing fifth, 1-26 off the win.  

World Championships 2021 junior women’s time trial: Knokke-Heist to Bruges (19.3km) 

1. Alena Ivanchenko (Russa), at 25-05
2. Zoe Backstedt (Great Britain), at 10s
3. Antonia Niedermaier (Germany), at 25s
4. Anna van der Meiden (Netherlands), at 1-25
5. Madelaine Leech (Great Britain), at 1-26
6. Elise Uijsen (Netherlands), at 1-29
7. Eglantine Rayer (France), at 1-51
8. Olivia Cummins (USA), at 2-15
9. Febe Jooris (Belgium), at 2-18
10. Anniina Ahtosalo (Finland), at 2-20   

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.