Backstedt: I thought my World Championships was over after near-crash
British rider holds onto bronze in junior women's time trial
Elynor Backstedt came into the junior women's time trial as the home favourite competing for Great Britain at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, but a slip through the final roundabout along the 13.7km circuit may have cost her a higher medal, and she finished with the bronze for a second consecutive year.
"In course recon, the corner was dry, and as you all saw, I almost fell off today," Backstedt told the press in the mixed zone after her race.
"I thought I could take the corner in the skis [time trial bars], but it ended up being a little bit slippy. I braked too late when I came out of the skis, and my back wheel slid out.
"To be honest, I didn't think that I was going to be able to hold it. I thought, 'you know what? This is my World Championships, over.' But I managed to keep it going, and I'm happy that I managed to get bronze."
Backstedt covered the technical Harrogate circuit in a third-best time of 22:27, 10 seconds slower than world title winner Aigul Gareeva (Russia) and six seconds slower than silver medallist Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands). Gareeva also made a significant error on course, missing the final turn and instead she rode straight on for about 200 metres before she realised her mistake.
"I don't think I can say whether it did or didn't cost me a higher medal," Backstedt said. "It was ten seconds [to the winner], and I don't think it cost me 10 seconds. You never know, though. I don't think I can definitely say whether it did or it didn't. Whatever happened happened."
She was one of the most popular riders on course with the crowds cheering and shouting her name all along throughout the Harrogate time trial.
"It feels incredible to get to ride a home World Championships," said Backstedt, who wore the bib no. 1 and was the last rider to start the time trial. "The crowds, too, everyone was cheering me on, and that was pretty incredible and kept me going all the way around.
"I was nervous being the last rider off because it's a home World Championships all the attention was on me. Once I got on stage, though, I got more excited, and the crowds didn't stop the whole way around. It was great. The last finishing straight was incredible, and those crowds helped me push on and get the bronze medal today."
Backstedt has completed a successful two years in the junior ranks. She turns 18 in December and is looking forward to starting her career among the elite peloton.
"This year I've learned a lot, and I plan to improve in the future, find my way in the [elite] field, and improve and learn," Backstedt said.
Asked if she had signed a professional contract for the 2019 season, Backstedt said with a wide grin, "I can't say, yet."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.