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Commentator breaks down in tears live on air as Welsh daughter Zoe Backstedt wins cycling World Championship gold

Welsh teenager Zoe Backstedt claimed the junior women’s road race gold at the UCI World Championships in Belgium – and left her father in tears as he tried to commentate on the extraordinary achievement.

Backstedt and Kaia Schmid broke clear on the third of five laps in Leuven, then worked well together all the way to the finale to sprint for victory, with Backstedt, who had already won a silver in the junior time-trial earlier in the week, edging it by a bike length.

The Pontyclun rider follows in the footsteps of elder sister Elynor, a previous bronze medal winner in the junior World time trial championships, and her success was witnessed at first hand, quite literally, by dad Magnus, who was commentating on the race for Eurosport GCN.

It was the latest chapter in a remarkable family success story for the Backstedt’s with mum Megan a former British champion who also represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games and Swedish-born Magnus a former Tour de France stage winner and Paris-Roubaix monument winner.

Video footage shows her dad gripped by tension and finally overcome with emotion as he followed the final moments from his commentary box.

His tears could also be heard on the live broadcast.

“I have no words at all,” said a tearful Backstedt at the finish. “I can’t believe I’ve just done that, that was probably the hardest race I have ever done.”

Backstedt countered a move of her British teammate, Flora Perkins, on the Sint-Antoniusberg during the third lap, where she went clear with Schmid.

Perkins and her other teammate Millie Couzens then did a great job of disrupting the chase behind, while Backstedt and Schmid worked harmoniously together to extend their advantage.

“I was just trying to keep us moving, keep us away from the group behind. I knew I had teammates in the group. My three other teammates, I knew they would be able to help try and get the gap out a little more, and once it was above thirty seconds I knew that I could hold it with the American [Schmid].

“We kept communicating, saying ‘keep pushing, let’s get ourselves to the line and sprint it out and see what happens on the last lap’.’ And we did that, it came down to a sprint and I just had it.”

Aside from a few tentative digs, neither rider chose to mount an all-out attack on any of the climbs, both instead trusting their sprint.

Backstedt found herself in the less desirable position of leading out the sprint in the final kilometre, but remained calm, and slowed the pace while keeping a watchful eye on Schmid.

Schmid was the first to open her sprint, and briefly held the lead, but Backstedt had the power to pass her before the line and take victory — much to the joy of dad Magnus.

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