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Ethias Cross Essen

A resounding first pro win for Zoé Bäckstedt

Spread over three fronts this weekend, the Tormans Cyclo Cross Team delegation was at the start of the sixth round of the Ethias Cross, organized this Saturday in Essen (Antwerp). Local rider Shana Maes, the Luxembourgish Marie Schreiber and the Brit Zoé Bäckstedt first started at 1.45pm in the Elite Women event, before Thomas Mein did the same in the Elite Men event at 3pm.

At only 17 years of age, Bäckstedt immediately set the tone, starting a solo in the very first round. Bursting with power, she was never seen again by her rivals and clinched her first professional victory more than a minute ahead of runner-up Laura Verdonschot. In doing so, she became the youngest winner of a cyclo-cross event in Belgium in the Elite category, at 17 years and 78 days old. Antwerp champion Shana Maes took 13th place after about an hour of effort.

In the Men’s competition, her compatriot Thomas Mein also shone as he just returned from a month without competition. After enjoying one of the best start alongside Wout Van Aert, the 22-year-old rider clinched his first top 10 of the season by taking seventh place.

Tomorrow, Quinten Hermans, Kévin Kuhn and Corné Van Kessel will line up for a new round of the World Cup in Val di Sole (Italy), where a heavy layer of snow has taken over the route traditionally holding  mountain bike events. The rest of the team is currently at Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux’s training camp in Alfas del Pi (Alicante), in order to prepare for the busy Christmas period.

I came here with the conviction that I could get a podium, but secretly I was thinking of victory and I am a happy girl. It was far from easy though, the mud was so hard, I had to run every lap which put a strain on my back. But in the end, these changes of pace were beneficial to me as I was able to find moments to recover. This is my first victory in this category, I am so happy!


General Classification