Bäckstedt out of British 'cross championships with COVID-19

Britain's Zoe Backstedt celebrates as she wins the elite women's Ethias Cross race at Robotland Cyclocross Essen in mid December
Britain's Zoe Backstedt celebrates as she wins the elite women's Ethias Cross race at Robotland Cyclocross Essen in mid December (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The British Cyclo-cross National Championships will go ahead in Crawley this weekend without two of the main favourites, after Zoe Bäckstedt - the leader of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in the junior category - tested positive for COVID-19. Defending elite men's champion Tom Pidcock will also miss the race to join his Ineos Grenadiers road team at a training camp in Mallorca that lasts through January 18.

Bäckstedt won the junior race in the World Cup rounds in Tabor, Namur and Dendermonde and won the Ethias Cross elite race in Essen in December while taking third in the elite race in Gullegem on Tuesday. She was due to compete in the elite women's race at the championships this Sunday.

However, upon arriving home the junior road World Champion says she tested positive for the virus that has been spreading rapidly worldwide in the past month.

"I just wanted to let you know that sadly after returning from racing in Belgium earlier this week, I have since tested positive for COVID 19," she wrote on her Instagram page.

"I am so grateful to be feeling fine at the moment and I’m lucky I am able to isolate at home with my family who have also sadly all tested positive.

"Unfortunately this means I’ll be missing Nationals this weekend. I’m gutted as I was really looking forward to competing and was in the best possible shape having prepared fully, but am now isolating as per the guidance and will do everything I can to return to racing as quickly as possible."

The British Cyclo-cross Championships were cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic but are due to go ahead this with few restrictions other than a request for racers and fans to stay home if they have symptoms or are required to self-isolate.

Racing will be livestreamed on British Cycling's YouTube page, with the Junior Women and Men, and Elite/U23 Women's and Men's races taking place on January 9 between 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. local time.

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Laura Weislo
Managing Editor

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks. Laura's specialises in covering doping, anti-doping, UCI governance and performing data analysis.