April 12, 2004
Peloton's biggest rider snags his biggest winEurosport | Backstedt blisters sprint
What a week for Magnus Backstedt, the nearly 200-pound Swede, formerly of Credit Agricole, now back in the big leagues with Alessio. Second in Wednesday's Ghent-Wevelgem, Backstedt was not to be denied today at Paris-Roubaix, for the biggest win of his career and the first-ever Swedish win in the race.
Johan Museeuw, looking for a 4th win in Paris-Roubaix, flatted 4+ miles from the finish, riding in the winning break with Backstedt, Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), Tristan Hoffman (CSC), and Roger Hammond (Mr. Bookmaker). Museeuw will retire after next week's GP L'Escaut at 38.
Backstedt took advantage of his track experience to dive to the inside of the group in the last 100 meters in the velodrome at Roubaix and led Hoffman, Hammond (his 3rd matched Barry Hoban for the best Paris-Roubaix finish by a British rider), and Cancellara over the line. Museeuw of QuickStep was 5th. George Hincapie was the highest-placed American at 8th.
Backstedt after the race:
"Its been a dream my whole life to win this race and I just can't believe I have done it," he said.
"Coming out of the last [cobblestone] section I turned around and saw there was only five of us left and I thought hang on -- this is the chance of a lifetime to do something here."
"I do a lot of track riding in the winter and I just knew that I had to keep high on the last corner [on the velodrome] and then dive down on the inside as we hit the last straight. After that... Wow!"