Zoe Bäckstedt uses father’s old pedals and five other tech insights from Paris-Roubaix Femmes 2023

Here's what we spotted in the team paddock in Denain

Tech from Paris Roubaix Femmes 2023
(Image credit: Tom Davidson)

Paris-Roubaix has long been a testing ground for new bike tech. This year, though, at least for Zoe Bäckstedt, it was a chance to delve into the past. 

On her race debut, the 18-year-old double junior world champion rode to 46th place using pedals that belonged to her father, 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Bäckstedt. 

At the race start in Denain, the teenager explained to Cycling Weekly how the pedals came into her possession. “Dad gave me them at the start of the year, something like that, just after I joined the team, and was like, ‘I’ve been saving these, so feel free to use them’. And here I am today.” 

The Speedplay pedals, which have been stripped of their plastic casing, were custom-modified for Magnus during his racing days. Speaking to Cylingnews, the Canyon-Sram sports director said: “We’ve always known that Speedplay have been a little bit of a tricky one as soon as you get a bit of mud between the cleats and pedals to clip in.

“And those ones, Richard from Speedplay sat in the bathtub in Compiègne and he ground off the coloured bits of the pedal and so that was just the metal so I could effectively clip if I got any mud in the cleats.”

Here are five more interesting bits of tech that were on display during the latest edition of the women’s Paris-Roubaix. 

Zoe Backstedt's speedplay pedals

(Image credit: Tom Davidson)

What happened to bar tape? 

Zoe Backstedt handlebars

(Image credit: Tom Davidson)

In days of old, pros would wrap their bars twice over for extra padding over the cobbles. 

On Saturday, however, Bäckstedt was one of a handful of riders to compete with bare bars, perhaps for an aero advantage. 

Eagle-eyed gallery viewers will also spot the Pink Panther sticker on the top tube of the teenager's Cannondale Lab71 SuperSix Evo. She explained to Cycling Weekly that this is a nickname given to her by her mechanic when she first joined EF Education-TIBCO-SVB at the start of this season. Gesturing to her jersey, she added: "Because, you know, pink." 

Trek-Segafredo's new paint job

Trek biks

(Image credit: Tom Davidson)

US bike brand Trek, title sponsor of Trek-Segafredo, debuted a new paint job at this year’s Paris-Roubaix. 

According to the company, the new ICON Monumental paint scheme is a “tribute to all who have battled their way to the finish and lived to tell the tale” at the race. 

Above is 2022 champion Elisa Longo Borghini’s Project One Domane SLR. Note, too, that the Italian went for a 52T 1x Sram drivetrain for the race. 

Recycled inner tube hack

Sram electronic gears

(Image credit: Tom Davidson)

It’s amazing how far an old inner tube can go. For Longo Borghini and the Trek-Segafredo mechanics, it makes for the perfect hack to keep components together over the bumpy cobbles. 

Here, the battery on her Sram RED eTap electronic shifter is being held in place by some old rubber, stopping it from falling out during the race. 

Prototype cobble tyres? 

Schwalbe tyre with prototype written on

(Image credit: Tom Davidson)

While the rest of Canyon-Sram went for Schwalbe Pro One tyres, Maike van der Duin looked to be trialling a new cobble-specific set. 

The tread appears similar to the Pro Ones, with the main difference being the tan walls. Still, with the word 'prototype' printed on them, they've piqued our interest. 

If in doubt, go with gold

Handlebar mount

(Image credit: Tom Davidson)

Israel Premier Tech Roland's Caroline Baur opted for flair with her tech choices. Despite all her team-mates riding with standard black computer mounts, the Swiss road champion went for a gold-coloured K-Edge option. If in doubt, go with gold. 

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.