By Gerry McManus
Magnus Backstedt will be back in race action in the United Kingdom at the East Midlands' International CiCLE Classic on Sunday, April 26.
The former Paris-Roubaix winner will compete in the United Kingdom's only UCI-ranked international one-day event with his newly created Team Cyclesport.se/Magnus Maximus Coffee.com. Backstedt recently set up the team of seven Swedes and one Brit who are looking to transfer from the elite amateur ranks to professional cycling.
The CiCLE Classic route features narrow farm tracks reminiscent of those found in the Spring Classic races in northern France and Belgium. It will see 200 riders navigate through the East Midlands countryside and villages on rough terrain following the ceremonial start in Oakham. The confirmed route for 2009 will see the riders complete almost 100 miles (160km) on their way to Melton.
Riders will have to race over 15 kilometres of rough roads, including two tough ascents of the Somerberg climb. The final stretch of 800-metre gravel road comes just two miles from the finish.
"I will be riding as one of the team leaders," said Backstedt. "But my focus is always on letting the young guys have the first go and I will be part of a backup plan. They are the ones who need the results to move up in their career and I have got all the results I need. But in saying that I still enjoy winning."
The Swedish team will face tough competition from riders from the United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium, Slovakia, Denmark and Ireland, but Backstedt is certain that his team will have an impact on the race.
"We always come to a race to make things happen. We race hard, give it all we have on the day and this race will be no different. In a race as unpredictable as the Rutland-Melton we will come with a few ace cards up our sleeves. ... If you focus too much on one rider you will very likely go away with nothing. A quick puncture changes everything, just like the Paris-Roubaix.