Backstedt's operation successful

After going under the knife for the fourth time in four months Magnus Backstedt could finally be on...

After going under the knife for the fourth time in four months Magnus Backstedt could finally be on the road to recovery. The big Swede's latest operation to remove the plate and pin from his collarbone has left him with a fighting chance of getting back to form for his beloved Paris-Roubaix on April 15. "Straight away I was in less pain than when I lay down on the operating table," said Backstedt. "I haven't had a pain free moment in four months and I couldn't hold back the tears I cried like a little kid!"

The Liquigas rider was involved in a high speed crash back in October when he and fellow countryman Freddy Johansson got tangled in a Madison change sending Backstedt straight into the bottom of the banking and snapping his shoulder on impact, resulting in a 5th degree shoulder separation.

Following this year's Volta a Mallorca Backstedt returned home to the UK and met with his surgeon who decided to remove the plate and pin inserted after the October crash and reset the collarbone.

It's been a testing year for the 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner who crashed on the opening day of his season in 2006 and suffered a career threatening knee injury, but Backstedt has now revealed a more sinister problem that he has also had to deal with alongside everything else.

"I visited the doctor in December because of a mole that I didn't like the look of. He removed it anyway and said it was probably nothing to worry about. Then in January I received the news that it was a malignant melanoma, skin cancer! I then had to have another operation where they took a piece of skin 9cm by 5 cm from my chest."

"As you can imagine I am now quite a beauty with my shirt off," joked Backstedt. "We as bike riders whether you are a pro or otherwise, spend a lot of time in the sun. I have got the all clear, but I am now going to look at raising awareness of the risks of skin cancer. I am though ready to get back and put all this behind me. I am so fired up to get back to my best."

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