Josh Tarling And Zoe Backstedt Strike Gold For GB In Netherlands

Gold medal winner Josh Tarling (centre) of Ineos Grenadiers celebrates on the podium. Pic: Getty Images

Josh Tarling And Zoe Backstedt Strike Gold For GB In Netherlands


By Hannah Blackwell

Josh Tarling and Zoe Backstedt underlined their status as the burgeoning stars of Welsh cycling with gold medals at the European Road Cycling Championships in the Netherlands.

In a remarkable performance for Great Britain, Tarling secured the gold in the individual time trial in Drenthe.

The 19-year-old Welsh rider showcased his talent by finishing 42.92 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Stefan Bissegger, with Belgium’s Wout van Aert claiming the third spot.

In the women’s race, 24-year-old Anna Henderson captured the silver medal, trailing Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser by a mere 43.36 seconds.

The victory streak for Welsh Great Britain riders continued as Backstedt clinched gold in the Under-23 women’s race.

Tarling’s triumph marked another milestone in his successful year, following victories at the British Championships and a bronze medal in the time trial at the World Championships held in Glasgow in August.

Notably, Remco Evenepoel from Belgium and Italy’s Filippo Ganna, both of whom had finished ahead of Tarling in Glasgow, were absent from the competition in Drente.

Tarling, currently in his debut season as a professional cyclist with Ineos Grenadiers, was the final rider to tackle the challenging 29.5km course.

He maintained a lead at both the first and second split times before crossing the finish line with a remarkable time of 31 minutes and 30 seconds.

Reflecting on his achievement, Tarling remarked: “It was hard. I felt weaker today than I did at the Worlds. The wind was really hard, I had to hold the high power all day.”

In the Under-23 women’s race, time-trial specialist Backstedt, aged 18, dominated her competition by an impressive 57.51 seconds, leaving Germany’s Antonia Niedermaier in second place and Finland’s Anniina Ahtosalo in third.

In the senior women’s event, Henderson, who had finished fourth at the Worlds in Glasgow, was the 25th rider to take on the course and initially took the lead.

However, she nervously awaited the final competitor, Reusser, to complete her run.

Ultimately, the Swiss rider proved faster, securing her third consecutive European title, with Austria’s Christina Schweinberger also making it to the podium.

Welsh Olympian Elinor Barker, finished in ninth place.

Henderson said: “It was a really tough course. It was technically maybe not the hardest but physically and mentally it was hard.

β€œI was really happy with my ride. I wanted a top-five finish today, but to get a podium is really special.”

Henderson and Barker were also scheduled to compete in Saturday’s elite women’s race, joined by Alice Barnes, Pfeiffer Georgi, Claire Steels, and Beckie Storrie, rounding off the British team.

In Sunday’s elite men’s road race, Great Britain is set to be led by Ethan Vernon, with Tarling, Luke Rowe, Lewis Aksey, Mark Stewart, Connor Swift, Ben Turner, and Sam Watson also participating.

Backstedt is set to participate in Friday’s Under-23 women’s road race, alongside her sister Elynor, world road Under-23 bronze medalist Anna Shackley, Millie Couzens, Flora Perkins, and Alice Towers.


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