After a long winter of cyclocross, Zoe Bӓckstedt is full of confidence as she awaits the opening weekend of the cobbled classics in Belgium.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly at the British national cyclocross championships, Bäckstedt said that the full details of her road programme are yet to be decided. However, her season is likely to begin with the women’s edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in late February.
“I’ll be doing Het Nieuwsblad and that’s about it for now. We’ll have to see how I am after this cyclocross season,” she said. “I don’t want to do too much too soon and end up tiring myself out.”
“Although yeah, opening weekend in Belgium and Het Nieuwsblad, bring it on I am so ready for it,” she added.
“I honestly can’t wait to get racing, it’s going to be so good out there.”
Despite having one eye on the beginning of her first full season as a professional with EF Education-Tibco-SVB on the road, Bӓckstedt is aiming to become British national cyclocross champion before the upcoming world championships in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands in February.
Coming into the national championships, the 18-year-old has picked up several top ten results throughout the winter in the UCI cyclocross world cup. Bӓckstedt explained that testing herself against some of the world’s top riders has left her feeling confident ahead of a big few weeks of competition.
“The Christmas period has been really good to me,” Bӓckstedt said. “It’s been really exciting being up in the top ten’s and top five’s of some of the World Cups that I’ve done, particularly in some of the races where I’ve been up against some of the best riders.”
“I’m just excited to be able to race a national championship again, particularly as I missed last year as I got Covid just before it,” she added.
Bӓckstedt was on the sidelines on Saturday to support Ceris Styler of Bӓckstedt Bike Performance who landed the veteran women’s national title. The 18-year-old explained that coming along to support Styler had given her a chance to preview the course ahead of Sunday’s elite women’s race.
“I’ve just tried to get a look at the course and see what some people do picking their lines, it will have changed by tomorrow with a lot of wetter mud,” she said.
“It looks like there may be a fair amount of running, but nothing that you don’t expect in a bit of cyclocross. I’m sure there will be plenty of sliding around as well. It’s just good to be back racing in the UK for a bit.”