The third day of the UCI Road World Championships saw double success for Great Britain as Zoe Backstedt and Josh Tarling took the women’s and men’s junior individual time trial world titles in a fantastic day of competition.
After taking home the silver medal last year, Zoe Backstedt came into the race with the aim of taking the top spot and with an initial time check of 9:38.06, 50 seconds ahead of the current fastest time, it was clear she meant business.
With an incredibly smooth and confident ride over the 14.1km course, Backstedt obliterated the competition, completing the course in a blistering time of 18:26.78, taking 1:35.58 off the silver medallist Justyna Czapla.
On her momentous win, Backstedt said:
“It feels incredible, I really wanted this one, it means a lot. I’ve got one track, the road, I’ve got cyclo-cross and now I’ve got the time trial (World Championship titles). I’m so happy I could pull it off.
“Out on the course my legs were hurting, but that was a good thing because I knew I was going hard and going strong, just trying to hold my power. Every race I go into, there’s no pressure. If you mess up, you mess up, but if you do well then even better. It’s just all about enjoying it.”
Backstedt now holds the junior world titles for cyclocross, time trial, road, and track (Madison), making her the only rider in history to do so.
The second rainbow jersey of the day came from Welshman Josh Tarling, who went into the individual time trial as top seed following his silver medal Road World Championships debut in 2021.
Starting confidently, Tarling took a strong lead ahead of Australia’s Hamish McKenzie, who had been sitting in the hot seat in first position for most of the day. Tarling lost a few seconds on the second climb, but pulled it back with a strong finish to take the world title with a time of 34:59.26, nine seconds faster than second place.
On achieving the world title, Tarling said:
“I’m feeling relief mainly! It’s been a lot of hard work and I’m just super happy. I was really nervous and didn’t want to look at any times all day because I was just going to do my ride anyway. I don’t feel too pressured, I have a nice team and a nice family and friends so I felt ok, I just wanted to stay focused and stay away from cycling up until the race.
“For Friday, we’ve got three different riders who can win it so we’ll all go in and work together and try to get one of us a win.”
Great Britain teammate Izzy Sharp also competed in today’s junior women’s time trial in her first UCI World Championships appearance. Sharp started off well, delivering the third fastest time at the half way mark up to that point. The young rider dug deep to secure the fastest time of 10:30.26 with 27 riders to go. This saw her sitting at the top of the hot seat, later moving into third position, before eventually being knocked off by the final riders, taking a 10th place finish overall.
Racing continues tomorrow with the team time trial mixed relay. Great Britain will race again overnight on Thursday 22 at 23:15 BST, where Tarling will compete in the junior men’s road race with teammates Zac Walker and Jed Smithson. Backstedt will attempt to defend her junior women’s road race title alongside Sharp, Awen Roberts and Grace Lister overnight on Friday 23 September (23:00 BST start time).
You can watch all racing live on Eurosport, GCN and discovery+, as well as following the competition via the UCI Race Hub.