Zoe Bäckstedt has the world at her feet. The Welsh teenager was the only rider to take home two rainbow jerseys from this year’s World Championships, winning the junior women’s individual time trial and road race.
Not only that, but she won both titles in resounding fashion. Her winning margins of 1-36 and 2-07 were the largest ever seen in the junior ranks at the Worlds.
As Bäckstedt now prepares for her WorldTour debut with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, British Cycling coach Emma Trott was quick to play down expectations.
“[Bäckstedt’s goal] will be to learn the ropes in regards to new bike races," Trott told Cycling Weekly, "different distances, different speeds.
“My perspective is not to expect a great deal from her, so that the pressure is not on her so she can learn and develop in her own time.”
The British Cycling coach was in the team car on Saturday when the 18-year-old stormed to victory in the junior women’s road race, having attacked just nine kilometres after the flag drop. When asked if she expected to see such a dominant performance, Trott responded: "I'd sound cocky if I said yes.
"But barring accident, injury or illness, I was confident that yes, that was possible.
“Once she was gone, it was one of those... She’s the best time trialist in the world, isn’t she? I know what she’s capable of in terms of being able to hold stable power over a period of time.
“How you see Zoe on the bike and racing is actually like her attitude and her personality coming out. It’s kind of her painting her picture as she races. I think if you allow her to grow in a fashion that is slow and sustainable, actually, she’ll end up painting those pictures for more years, rather than two years and we’ve burned a young bike rider out.”
Next year, Trott will continue to train Bäckstedt as she makes the step-up to the WorldTour. Their relationship is often credited as being central to the teenager's success, which now sees her hold four world titles in four different disciplines.
"We trust each other," said Trott. "She trusts me and I trust that she does the work as well. I think that’s really key to the whole thing.
“We’ve got our own goals and our own agendas, but that will stay between us for the time being.”
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