Zoe Bäckstedt storms to junior women's time trial win for GB at World Championships

Welsh rider wins worlds by over 90 seconds, taking second rainbow jersey on the road

Zoe Bäckstedt at the World Championships 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zoe Bäckstedt put in a dominant ride at the junior women's time trial at the World Championships to take the second rainbow jersey of her short road career.

The Welsh rider stormed to the title on Tuesday morning in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, with a time of 18-27 over the 14.1km course, meaning an average speed of 46.854km/h.

Her pace was such that she beat her nearest rival, Justyna Czapla (Germany), by 1-36, with Febe Jooris (Belgium) another 13 seconds back in third.

It is Bäckstedt's second rainbow jersey at this level, after she won the women's junior road race in Flanders last September. She will also be a favourite for the event again this year, which takes place on Saturday.

The 17-year-old also holds junior world titles in cyclocross and in the Madison on the track. She went one better than last year, when she finished second in the same race.

Speaking after her win, Bäckstedt said she was happy to pull it off, and there was "no pressure" on her to deliver, and she was just trying to enjoy herself.

“It feels incredible, I really wanted this one, it means a lot," she said. "I’ve got one track, the road, I’ve got cyclocross and now I’ve got TT (world championship titles). I’m so happy I could pull it off.

“Out on the course my legs were hurting, but that was a good thing because I knew I was going hard and going strong, just trying to hold my power. If I’m honest, there’s no pressure, I’m young and don’t need pressure put on me. If I do then It’s not a good thing to have in your mind. 

"Before the race I just tried to relax out in the sun. Every race I go into, there’s no pressure. If you mess up, you mess up but if you do well then even better. It’s just all about enjoying it.”

Bäckstedt came into this race in top form, having completed a clean sweep at the Watersley Challenge juniors race last weekend, winning the overall title as well as all three stages and the mountains classification jersey. 

She will race for EF Education-TIBCO-SVB next year, having signed the contract while not yet an adult; she has been riding for them as a trainee in recent months, hence her team equipment in this race. 

The Welsh rider was the only rider to go under nine minutes at the first checkpoint, and then went on to prove her strength over the second half of the course, where she put in even more time into her nearest rivals.

The fastest three riders were in the last four to start on the day, so those in the hot seat before the denoument, Anna van der Meiden (Netherlands) and Elisabeth Ebras (Estonia) and Eliška Kvasničkova (Czech Republic) all knowing that they could be blown away. 

Jooris replaced Kvasničkova with just three riders still to finish, but she was pipped by Czapla to the lead, but with Bäckstedt still racing on the course, by now it was clear that she would be the one heading home with the rainbow stripes.

Bäckstedt's fellow GB rider Izzy Sharp finished 10th, while the highest home rider, Isabelle Carnes, was eight, 1-55 behind the winner



1. Zoe Bäckstedt (GBr), in 18-26
2. Justna Czapla (Deu), at 1-36
3. Febe Jooris (Bel), at 1-49
4. Eliška Kvasničkova (Cze), at 1-50
5. Anna van der Meiden (Ned), at same time
6. Elisabeth Ebras (Est), at 1-51
7. Nienke Vinke (Ned), at 1-52
8. Isabelle Carnes (Aus), at 1-55
9. Laura Sander (Est), at 2-00
10. Izzy Sharp (GBr), at 2-05

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.