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Paris Roubaix winner Backstedt bows out

By:
Gregor Brown in Doha, Qatar
Published:
February 07, 2009, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 18:07 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, February 7, 2009
Magnus Backstedt racing in the colors of Swedish Champion at the Amstel Gold Race in 2008

Magnus Backstedt racing in the colors of Swedish Champion at the Amstel Gold Race in 2008

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Magnus Backstedt ended his elite-level racing career after 13 years as a professional, but he will...

Magnus Backstedt ended his elite-level racing career after 13 years as a professional, but he will stay involved with the sport of cycling. Going forward, the 34-year-old Swede will apply his knowledge and talent to help the next generation of riders work their way up the ranks. In his new roles, he will serve a consultant and mentor for Garmin's young riders and work with his own development squad.

Backstedt's retirement comes after a recent career-threatening knee injury, melanoma, a separated shoulder and a broken collarbone.

"Taking a step down from the highest level of the sport I love and from a team I love is the hardest decision I have ever made, but at the same time I am excited for the new challenges ahead," said Backstedt. "At some point you have to realize that the daily punishment you are forcing your body to go through is taking its toll. I've fought my way back many times since winning Paris Roubaix in 2004, but my new fight will be to focus my energy on my own development team."

In addition to his win at Paris-Roubaix, Backstedt also finished second at the Gent-Wevelgem and the CSC Classic that same year. During his career, he earned three Swedish national titles (2002, 2003 and 2007). Prior to Garmin-Slipstream, he rode for Collstrop-Palmans, Crédit Agricole, Team Fakta, Alessio-Bianchi and Liquigas.

"I have had a fantastic career. I turned pro at 21; I have raced with some of the best riders and teams in the World. I've won a stage of the Tour de France and the biggest one-day Classic in the World, among others. I can take a step down from the highest level of the sport with my head held high."

Backstedt is pleased with his efforts to bring about change in the sport through his involvement with Garmin-Slipstream, which will continue into retirement.

"We will miss Magnus this year. He's been a tremendous leader and an inspired mentor for the younger athletes," said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO and director sportif of Team Garmin-Slipstream. "But we are happy that Magnus will stay on to play a consulting role with us. We wish him the best of luck with his new team."

That new team is Cyclesport.se-MagnusMaximusCoffee.com, a Swedish-registered continental team for which Backstedt will serve as a rider, director and sponsor. He co-founded the team with business partner Martin McCrossan and Cyclesport.se founder Dennis Nystrand.

Backstedt thanked his family, friends and "all the people who have helped me through the years", including his fans.

"As they say, as one door closes, another one opens," he said. "New beginnings with no regrets. I'm still going to ride my bike, wind down and bring on the future champions."

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