Magnus Backstedt has announced that he is the mysterious Paris-Roubaix winner signed by Jonathan Vaughters' Team Slipstream for 2008. Vaughters' announced to Cyclingnews last week that he had signed an active winner of the French classic, but refused to name which professional had signed with the squad.
"I feel that it is time for a new start and I am extremely attracted by the programme and values of Team Slipstream/Chipotle," said Backstedt, reffering to the squad's ethos of a doping-free environment. "Jonathan Vaughters and myself were team mates at Credit Agricole, as soon as I spoke with him regarding the possibility of me joining the team, I knew it was the right decision."
Backstedt's signing will see the Liquigas rider join the American Professional Continental squad for both 2008 and 2009, by which point Vaughters plans to acquire a ProTour licence.
The Swedish champion joins a wave of big-named new signings to the squad, with Saunier Duval's David Millar, and Team CSC duo David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde all being announced immediately after the Tour de France finished. Yesterday New Zealand's Julian Dean announced he was leaving his French ProTour team Crédit Agricole to join the squad for 2008.
"I believe that with riders such as myself, Millar, Zabriske and Vande Velde joining guys like Danny Pate, we can make a significant impact on some major races next year," added Backstedt. "From my own perspective I have a big following in the USA and am really looking forward to getting stuck into races such as the Tour of California and racing for an American team."
Backstedt is confident with the lineup the squad will enter 2008 with that the outfit will be invited to both Roubaix and the Tour. The two events have been singled out by Vaughters recently as key stepping stones in the path to a ProTour licence in 2009.
"I think Slipstream/Chipotle will be a breath of fresh air for cycling," said the 2004 Roubaix winner. "I'm sure we will get a ride in Paris Roubaix and we will be on the start line for the Tour de France. With the guys we have, I think we could do some damage in team time trials as well."
Having turned professional in 1996 with Collstrop, Sweden's Backstedt has ridden for Palmans, Gan, Crédit Agricole, Fakta and Alessio during his career and has spent the past three years with Italian squad Liquigas. In addition to his Roubaix victory, Backstedt also took victory on Stage 19 of the Tour while riding with Crédit Agricole in 1998.