Bäckstedt was in tears after drama-filled day in Namur, but found support in cyclo-cross friend: "Manon is always there for me" Cyclo-cross

Bäckstedt was in tears after drama-filled day in Namur, but found support in cyclo-cross friend: "Manon is always there for me"

Bäckstedt was in tears after drama-filled day in Namur, but found support in cyclo-cross friend: "Manon is always there for me"

In the Exact Cross race in Mol, won by Lucinda Brand, young talent Zoe Bäckstedt finished in fifth place. This was a welcome boost for the 19-year-old British rider, who had placed 26th just a week earlier at the Citadel of Namur. IDLProCycling.com interviewed Magnus Bäckstedt's daughter, discussing her recent dip in form, the Christmas period, her friendship with Manon Bakker and the upcoming Cyclo-cross World Championships.

"A sixth place here in Mol is something I can definitely live with, especially after last week in Namur where I had a total off-day," begins the young woman from Wales in the Flemish province of Antwerp as she shares her thoughts on the day. "Over the past week, I've trained a bit more than usual. I'm feeling good. I think I'm slowly but surely getting closer to my normal level."

Baker and Bäckstedt: what's in a name?

And that's a relief, as the 26th place at the Citadel came as a surprise to many. "In Namur, it was a bit of a combination of circumstances. The off-day caused me to make several mistakes, some resulting in crashes. Moreover, if you simply don't have the legs on a course like Namur, it becomes a very difficult day," she explains her disappointing race.

After finishing in Namur with a seven-minute gap behind race winner Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Bäckstedt was comforted by Manon Bakker, the snow queen of Val di Sole. "Manon and I have become good friends," she explains further about their close bond. "We had a great time together at the beginning of the season in America, where we raced in some of the same events. We had a lot of fun then. We've also trained together a few times in recent weeks. It's just really nice to have a friend. After the race, we often chat for a while. She's always there for me."

Bäckstedt sees Van Anrooij as the absolute top favorite at the U23 Cyclo-cross World Championships

Alright, what other races are on the menu for Bäckstedt, who was crowned European U23 champion in November? "My upcoming races are in Antwerp (December 23rd, ed.), Gavere (December 26th, ed.), Hulst (December 30th, ed.), Baal (January 1st, ed.), Gullegem (January 6th, ed.), Zonhoven (January 7th, ed.) and Benidorm (January 21st, ed.)," she recalls the list of races that are clearly well in her mind. And what are her ambitions in these races? "If I manage to secure another podium finish, that would be fantastic. If not, it's not the end of the world either. One of my main goals this season was to get a podium finish in the elite category, and I've already achieved that. I'm really happy about it."

As we mentioned earlier, Bäckstedt became the European champion in the U23 category last month. The Cyclo-cross World Championships, which will be held in the Czech Republic's city of Tabór on the weekend of February 3rd and 4th, is also on Bäckstedt's agenda - and she can certainly be considered one of the top contenders for the U23 title there. "The Cyclo-cross World Championships in Tabór is my last race of the year and also one of the main goals," says the friendly rider. "Marie Schreiber is a formidable competitor there. But I think Shirin van Anrooij, who can also compete in the U23 category, has strong credentials. If she competes in that category, she is the absolute top favorite."

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments

More Cycling News