Josh Tarling and Zoe Backstedt Chase More Gold For Wales And GB


Josh Tarling and Zoe Backstedt are back in action again this weekend after underlining their status as the burgeoning stars of Welsh cycling, with both winning gold medals at the European Road Cycling Championships in the Netherlands this week.

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.

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

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 Sunday’s elite men’s road race, Great Britain is set to be led by Ethan Vernon, with Tarling, fellow Welsh rider 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.



Wales goalkeeper Ella Jackson believes Swansea Hockey Club can start the climb back towards the top level when their season begins on Saturday.

Swansea open their National Hockey League Division One North campaign at home to Durham University, three years to the week since they became the first Welsh club – men’s or women’s – to play in England’s Premier Division.

Their brief stint in the top flight lasted just one interrupted season that spanned Covid lockdowns, before they were relegated.

But Jackson believes the arrival of former Egyptian international Mo Samak as new head coach this summer can usher in a revival in their fortunes.

“Mo has come in along with Lee Marshall on the coaching side and they are really keen for us to progress,” says Jackson, who is in her third season with Swansea.

“Any time you get new coaches in, there are challenges, and we have also brought some new faces into the playing squad so it’s been about adapting.

“We are aspirational as a club and our long-term vision is to play at the highest level. We would love to win the league this season, but if we can make sure we’re in the mix, fighting for it, then you never know what can happen.”

Under former coach Paul Edwards, Swansea finished sixth in the 10-team Division One North last season, but will include up to six new players this weekend.

Also in action this Saturday, are Cardiff and Met men’s team who face their first away trip after promotion to the Premier Division for the first time.

They are at Reading, where they will be looking to make amends after opening their season with a 4-1 defeat at home to Southgate a week ago.

Around 600 supporters saw Cardiff and Met play their historic fixture at Sophia Gardens and many of those will be traveling up the M4 to Reading.

“For the club and Welsh hockey it was a really good event,” said Cardiff and Met coach Walid Abdo.

“I’m proud of the way we played for our first outing and am looking forward to the next few weeks. It’s going to be a steep learning curve but I’m confident we can cope at this level.”