Great Britain’s Zoe Backstedt has blown away the field to take victory in the junior women’s time trial at the road world championships in Wollongong, Australia.
The 17-year-old clocked 18min 26.78sec over the 14.1km course in New South Wales, some 95km (60 miles) south of Sydney, to finish 1min 35.58sec ahead of Germany’s Justyna Czapla, who was followed by Febe Jooris of Belgium.
Backstedt, who now holds the junior women’s world titles in cyclo-cross, road race, time trial and Madison, attributed her success to how she handled the pressure of the occasion.
She said: “It feels incredible, I really wanted this one, it means a lot … 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.”
The Welsh cyclist will now look to retain the road race title she claimed in Flanders last year in Illawarra on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a tough one, I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “Now I know what the course is like under a full-gas effort, obviously we have a couple more climbs, but it’s going to be interesting and fun and very early in the morning.
“From the time-trial course, I think the road course suits me, but there’s some steeper climbs put in for the road race, it’s a little longer, there’s some more corners, so anything could happen on the day as well.”
There was a British double in the junior time trials with Joshua Tarling taking victory in the men’s version, ahead of Australia’s Hamish McKenzie.
Tarling, who has agreed a deal to join the Ineos Grenadiers, was the last rider off the ramp in the men’s event, and made it clear he was the class of the field with the fastest time at each of the intermediate check points.
His final margin of victory over Australia’s Hamish McKenzie was 19 seconds as he improved on his silver medal in this event 12 months ago. “It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet but it just feels like a relief,” Tarling said. “It’s been so much hard work and I was a bit annoyed after last year. I really wanted it.”