July 01, 2004
Backstedt back; seeks stage win
Magnus Backstedt is one of my favorite riders. With a name more suited to the World's Strongest Man competition, Backstedt towers over most of his compatriots at around 6' 4" and 200 pounds. He's unlikely to win any mountaintop finishes.
He's a smart rider with a good finish, though, and took a stage of the 1998 Tour on a 220-kilometer 4-man breakaway (right) to become the first Swede ever to win a Tour stage. After doing some time in the equivalent of cycling's minor leagues, Backstedt is back in the bigs this year, riding for Alessio-Bianchi, and with some good results already.
He won Paris-Roubaix this spring, the legendary "Hell of the North," featuring sections of cobbled pavé that jars the riders and led to Rock Shox developing a road shock called the Roubaix.
Backstedt will be sniffing for a stage win in the Tour, and looking to maintain his fitness for the road and time trial events at the Olympics.
"I will be looking to get in a break in this year's Tour and see what happens."
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