Former Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt retired from the Tour de France prior to the final rest day, ill with a cold. Short of important racing after spending much of the early part of the season out due to injury, the Liquigas rider was trying to ride himself into form. However, digging in while sick on the gruelling mountain stage to Pla de Beret made things very tough.
"I'm disappointed of course not to make it to Paris," he said after returning home, "but for once I've made the decision based on what is best for my health. I lost the first half of 2006 to injury and I didn't want to lose the second half to sickness caused by destroying myself through the Alps.
"I missed out on the Classics because of the tendon problem with my knee," he elaborated. "I have the Hamburg Classic, The Tour of Denmark and the Vuelta coming up and I really want some good results before the end of the season."
After much speculation about his destination for 2007, Backstedt will stay with Liquigas for another year. "Yes I will stay in green next year. I do feel that there are some issues relating to why the team has not had the season they had last year, but we have a great bunch of guys and believe that we can regain that killer attitude of 2005," Backstedt concluded.