Zoe Bäckstedt will be making the step up to the Women’s WorldTour this year as she swaps the blue kit of Belgian cyclo-cross development squad, Acrog-Tormans, for the pink of EF Education-TIBCO-SVB in August.
The 17-year-old, who is the current junior road and cyclo-cross world champion, will be riding for the team as a trainee with the team’s approach of riding a full road calendar, while also encouraging its riders to race on dirt and gravel, part of the appeal.
"I'm so excited to be joining Women's WorldTour team EF Education-TIBCO-SVB as a trainee and I can't wait to start racing for them later this year. I love their multi-discipline approach to cycling,” said Bäckstedt in a team statement.
Bäckstedt finished the 2021-2022 cyclocross season with 10 wins, also adding the cyclocross European women’s junior championships to her World Championship victory.
On the road, as well as last year out-sprinting her break companion to take the rainbow stripes, she won the individual time trial stage in the Watersley Ladies Challenge and this season won the overall at EPZ Omloop van Borsele, as well as two of the three stages. On the track she also took gold medals in the individual pursuit, team pursuit, and Madison at the 2021 European junior track championships.
She will continue to ride with Acrog-Tormans until August.
"I am so grateful to [Acrog-Tormans] for everything that they have done for me over the last few years and I’m excited to continue to ride for them on the road for the next few months and hopefully get some good results ahead of the step to World Tour," said Bäckstedt in an Instagram post.
Bäckstedt will, by far, be the youngest on EF Education-TIBCO-SVB – which is also home to US cyclo-cross champion Clara Honsinger and fellow Brits Lizzy Banks and Abi Smith – but racing at the top level is well ingrained in the Bäckstedt family. Older sister Elynor races for Trek-Segafredo, while her mother, Megan Hughes, is a former British road champion and her father Magnus Bäckstedt has a Paris-Roubaix win and Tour de France stage victory among his results.
"As the current Junior World Champion in both road and cyclocross, Zoe is clearly very talented," said Linda Jackson, founder and owner of EF Education-TIBCO-SVB. "Our goal is to support her overall development and nurture her growing talent. I am so excited at the prospect of what we are going to achieve together."
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Simone is a degree-qualified journalist that has accumulated decades of wide-ranging experience while working across a variety of leading media organisations. She joined Cyclingnews as a Production Editor at the start of the 2021 season and has now moved into the role of Australia Editor. Previously she worked as a freelance writer, Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg. Cycling was initially purely a leisure pursuit for Simone, who started out as a business journalist, but in 2015 her career focus also shifted to the sport.