U23 favorite Bäckstedt hopes for big downpour in Tábor: "That would be perfect, I'm going to pray for it" Cycling

U23 favorite Bäckstedt hopes for big downpour in Tábor: "That would be perfect, I'm going to pray for it"

U23 favorite Bäckstedt hopes for big downpour in Tábor: "That would be perfect, I'm going to pray for it"

Zoe Bäckstedt couldn't have asked for a better dress rehearsal leading up to the Women's World Cyclo-cross Championships. The 19-year-old British rider secured a commendable fourth place in the World Cup in Hoogerheide, competing against a field of top riders. This achievement contributes significantly to her status as the absolute top favorite in the U23 category on Sunday afternoon. Look out for her in IDLProCycling.com for a brief interview after the race in Hoogerheide!

"Finishing fourth in Hoogerheide definitely boosts my self-confidence as I approach the World Cup," quips the daughter of Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Bäckstedt. "This holds true for any top-notch performance in a World Cup race, as such occurrences are rare, particularly when competing against the world's top riders. In that regard, it certainly provides a mental boost heading into Tabor, where the course is similar to Hoogerheide—featuring barriers on a slightly uphill stretch and numerous short but steep climbs. It demands a lot of power, which naturally suits my strengths."

Bäckstedt has fond memories of Tábor

In the past, Bäckstedt, who incidentally almost always guarantees some interesting or playful statements, has already managed to win twice in Tábor (among the juniors). "Having that in the back of your mind does give you a bit more confidence," said the woman in great form. "I may have won there twice, but it won't change how I approach the World Cup itself. My race strategy will not be altered."

From the perspective of the outside world, Bäckstedt is considered a top favorite in the U23 category, someone who stands head and shoulders above the rest. Does the lady from Wales actually see it that way herself? 'Normally, I should be able to compete for the rainbow jersey. If everything goes according to plan, I can claim it. However, I am taking into account competitors like Leonie Bentveld, Marie Schreiber, and Kristýna Zemanová. For the latter, it is a home game, so that is always something to watch out for. It is still difficult for me to estimate how significant the differences will be. I dare not make many statements about that.

Finally, let's talk about the weather. According to many, and also according to Bäckstedt, Tábor in particular is a round on which meteorological conditions can have an above-average influence. 'It can go either way there,' agrees Bäckstedt. There is a good chance that even during the race, we will have to adapt ourselves to the weather conditions. Watch which spots dry up, check where there is still ice, and keep an eye on the position of the sun. Factors like these play an extra significant role there. For me, it would, of course, be great if it were pouring down from the sky, haha! A bit of a combination of Dendermonde and Dublin. Rain, rain, and more rain during the lead-up, dry and some drizzle during the race – that would be perfect, and I'm going to pray for that," she concludes with a wink.

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