Zoe Bäckstedt: Winning races will be 'virtually impossible' next season

The 18-year-old is looking forward to finding her feet on the women's WorldTour

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

Quadruple junior world champion Zoe Bäckstedt believes it will be “virtually impossible” for her to continue her winning ways next season, when she steps up to the women’s WorldTour for the first time. 

The 18-year-old will join the senior ranks with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB in 2023, having signed a professional contract with the American team back in August. 

Speaking to Cycling Weekly in an exclusive interview in this week's print edition as we named her our female rider of the year, Bäckstedt said she “can’t wait” to start racing.

“The first couple of years are basically there for me to find who I am as a rider,” she added. “There’s not as much pressure for me to go straight in and give results.”

This year, the Brit added four new rainbow jerseys to her collection, claiming junior world titles in cyclo-cross and Madison, before going on to win the road race and individual time trial double at the Road World Championships in Wollongong, Australia.

Asked if she hopes to add to her palmarès in 2023, Bäckstedt said: “Coming up from a junior and doing that in your first year is virtually impossible. 

“I’m just there to help out the team, hope they can get some results and just find who I am.”

In 2022, the teenager raced three times as a trainee for EF Education-TIBCO-SVB and enjoyed her new domestique role. 

“It’s not something I’ve done before,” she said, “having to navigate going back through the peloton to the cars, things like that. I really look forward to what’s to come next season.” 

After Bäckstedt's double victory at the Road World Championships in September, her coach Emma Trott was quick to play down expectations of the 18-year-old's future. 

"[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 [next season], so that the pressure is not on her so she can learn and develop in her own time.

Zoe Bäckstedt is Cycling Weekly’s female rider of the year for 2022. For a more in-depth look at her season - including an exclusive interview - pick up a copy of this week’s magazine, out 1 Dec. 

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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.