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Zoe Bäckstedt signs with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB

American WorldTour team snaps up junior world road champion.

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Zoe Bäckstedt has signed a full-time WorldTour contract with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB.

The 17-year-old will race both road and cyclocross for the American team. Bäckstedt already signed as a stagiaire for the team at the start of August.

Bäckstedt’s father, Magnus, raced for the SlipStream organization back in 2o08, but it’s his daughter Zoe who has been making headlines in the last few years as a hugely talented all-rounder.

“My dad [Magnus Bäckstedt] won Paris-Roubaix so for as long as I can remember, he’s ridden a bike. My mum [Megan Hughes] was the British national champion in the road race and has a track bronze medal in the sprint as a junior. My sister has Worlds medals and now rides in the WorldTour. Cycling is in my blood,” she said in a press release issued by her new team.

“My dad always says that when I was little, I used to always go down to the local velodrome when my sister was training and I’d be like, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to ride.’ But he’d take my bike anyway. I’d see someone my age riding around the track and I’d say, ‘Dad! Dad! I want my bike!’ He’d go and get it and then basically I’d jump on the bike, sprint one lap, make sure I passed them, get off the bike, and then stand on the side for the next half an hour. As long as I caught that person, I was happy.”

It was the environment at EF Education and the experienced leadership of Linda Jackson that helped swap Bäckstedt into joining the team.

“I spoke with a couple of other teams. I had a Zoom call with Linda, the team owner. Just the way I was speaking with her, the way she was speaking with me, how we got along, it seemed to work. I went downstairs after that call and I said to my dad, ‘That’s my team. I want to sign for them.’ Just the whole vibe was what I wanted. Linda let me be myself, she was herself. I think we clicked a little bit then. I felt good, I felt confident. I looked at some of the riders on the team already. The likes of Abi Smith, I already knew. Lizzy Banks, too. I know a couple of people within the team already so it’s nice to know that if I find it a little bit hard the first couple of times, I still have someone I can talk to that I know already that can help me out.”

More to follow…