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Zoe Backstedt (Great Britain) outsprinted Kaia Schmid (USA) after a nervy junior women’s road race Saturday.
The pair went off the front mid-way through the 75km race and weren’t caught after working together to distance a strong chase group.
The rainbow jersey came down to a final sprint as Backstedt went up against the American climber, and it was the British rouleur and time trialist that brought home the jersey.
“I have no words at all, I can’t believe I’ve just done that,” she said shortly after crossing the line. “It was probably the hardest race I’ve ever done.”
Linda Riedmann (Germany) won the sprint for bronze from the group behind, with Makayla Macpherson making it two in the top-five for USA with her kick for the line.
Zoe, daughter of Paris-Roubaix champion and Tour de France stage-winner Magnus, also placed second in the time trial earlier this week. After only turning 17 on Friday, Backstedt will have a lot to celebrate on her return to the UK.
Backstedt and Schmid had ridden a tactically savvy race after they went clear in the third lap of five. The pair played to each other’s strengths on the hilly course and shared the work well to open an unbridgable gap on the chasers before letting the final lap decide the world champion.
“I was just trying to keep us away from the group behind. I had teammates in the group so I knew that they’d be able to help get the gap out a bit more – once we had 30 seconds I knew we could hold it,” Backstedt said. “We kept communicating and decided to just take it to the line and sprint it out and see what happens in the last lap.”
Backstedt and the British team had piled on the pressure through the front-half of the race, and it was the former’s move in the third of five laps that forced the selection. The Brit kicked away from the lead group at 32km to go and it was only Schmid that could follow the surge.
The duo worked together perfectly through the final to winch out a lead of more than 90 seconds from a chase group of two-dozen riders dominated by Dutch and British racers. With only one American in the chase, the three British riders were quick to shut down the moves to keep Backstedt out front.
The final laps saw Backstedt and Schmid locked together, content to ride it out for a sprint.
The two rode shoulder-to-shoulder through the grinding final kilometer in Leuven, cagily waiting for the other to open the final kick. It was Backstedt who went first and Schmid jumped a split-second after. There was almost nothing to separate the two for the opening pedalstrokes, but it was the final 10 meters that made the difference as Backstedt turned on the burners to win by a length.
World Championships WJ - Road Race Results
|1||BÄCKSTEDT Zoe||Great Britain||1:55:33|
|2||SCHMID Kaia||United States||0:00|
|5||MACPHERSON Makayla||United States||0:57|
|6||COUZENS Millie||Great Britain||0:57|
|12||PERKINS Flora||Great Britain||1:03|
|13||VAN DER MEIDEN Anna||Netherlands||1:05|
|15||VAN DE WETERING Carola||Netherlands||1:15|
|16||LEECH Madelaine||Great Britain||1:15|
|24||CUMMINS Olivia||United States||4:30|
|25||ANDERSON Solbjørk Minke||Denmark||4:30|
|30||DE GRANDIS Michela||Italy||4:30|
|47||ROJAS Laura Daniela||Colombia||6:04|
|52||KVASNIČKOVÁ Eliška||Czech Republic||6:04|
|56||BYE Camilla Rånes||Norway||6:28|
|64||KLOPPER Sonica||South Africa||6:28|
|65||TORRES Serena Jeanette||El Salvador||6:28|
|66||MORENO Sara Juliana||Colombia||6:28|
|72||BÁRTOVÁ Gabriela||Czech Republic||10:09|
|79||PATRICK Chloe||United States||11:49|
|84||BATESON Chloe||South Africa||11:51|
Results provided by ProCyclingStats.