Zoe Bäckstedt takes junior European Cyclocross Championships title

The young Brit has the first win of the Championships

Zoe Bäckstedt
(Image credit: Getty)

Zoe Bäckstedt has taken the first title of the European Cyclocross Championships, winning the junior women's race.

The 17-year-old finished with daylight between her and the Dutch pair Leonie Bentveld in second and Nienke Vinke in third.

Bäckstedt already led by 13 seconds after the first lap, eventually crossing the finish line a minute and six seconds ahead of Bentveld. Fellow Brits Ella Maclean-Howell and Libby Bell made the top 10 in ninth and tenth, Elizabeth Mckinnon in 23rd and Niamh Murphy in 31st.

The Col du Vam course in Drenthe, the Netherlands, contains a cobbled strip maxing out at a gradient of 15 per cent.

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Bäckstedt beat out 54 other riders to add the European title to her road and time trial wins at the Flanders World Championships, having also already taken cyclocross wins this autumn at the Stockholm Weekend and the Junior Superprestige at Gieten.

“Last weekend, at the World Cup in Overijse, I was quite disappointed with my result. I didn't have good feelings in my legs. I was a little nervous coming here, but I knew I had trained well this week. If I had good feelings, there would be no problem and that is what happened," Bäckstedt told DirectVelo after her victory.

“If you make a mistake you can waste 20 seconds. It goes quickly. I went all out the whole time. I tried to keep the gap and then get away, and I managed to do it.

“I'm not very comfortable in the moguls. But finally coming here yesterday, I really liked the circuit. It is technical but not too much and it is punchy like in the World Road Championships.

“This European Championship was not really an objective but it gives confidence for the rest of the season and for the World Cup. I am really happy to have achieved this victory."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.