Elynor Bäckstedt has said she is finally ‘finding herself’ at Trek-Segafredo, settling into her role in her third year at the team.
After the combination of the pandemic and a fractured tibia sidelined almost the entirety of Bäckstedt’s debut season in 2020, she only made her WorldTour debut in May 2021, and is still feeling her way in the peloton.
“I’m on year three, but I unfortunately missed my whole first year due to injury,” Bäckstedt said. “So I’m now kind of finding myself a lot more, and I’m able to go off the front and do lead outs and things like that.”
Currently riding The Women’s Tour, the 20-year-old has been mainly riding in a support role, but has also been aggressive in the early parts of the stages, taking chances off the front on stages 3 and 5. On the flatter days, Bäckstedt has taken up position on the front of Trek-Segafredo’s sprint train.
“I feel like the girls really trust my ability, and that in itself is really nice for me,” she said. “To be able to help them out in every way that I can and still have my own small opportunities is really nice.”
Bäckstedt rode her first home WorldTour race at last month’s RideLondon Classique, and this week marks her first time racing The Women’s Tour, the latest part of a packed season of racing.
“The first part of the season was really busy, and then I had a really big crash and an injury,” Bäckstedt said, referencing a crash at Nokere Koerse in March. “So I’ve had a bit of downtime to just train and gain strength again.”
After taking on a team role for much of the season so far, Bäckstedt is hoping to pursue some of her own goals going into the summer.
“The next part of the season’s also going to be really busy. I just got selected for the Commonwealth Games, so that will obviously be a big goal. Then we have nationals in a few weeks, and hopefully World Champs, but you never know really. But I’m really excited.”
This week’s Women’s Tour may not have been ideal terrain for Bäckstedt, but with two stages in her home country of Wales, she has had plenty of family support at the roadside as she finds her way in the team.
“They know what type of rider I am and they know this loop is not necessarily my strongest of choices, but they’re just happy to see me racing.”
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Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.