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Bäckstedt back on the bike

After crashing in the Trofeo Mallorca on the opening day of his 2006 season, fighting his way through Tirreno Adriatico and Milano-San Remo, Liquigas' Magnus Bäckstedt was finally forced off his bike with a split in the tendon behind his left knee. The tall Swede was ordered to rest for up to six weeks to allow the tendon to heal. He has since been under the care of Doctor Paul Sutton, the surgeon who helped rebuild the knee of top British track cyclist Tony Gibb after a career-threatening crash, as well as Allison McQueen-Luzar, one of the only practitioners in bio-resonance therapy in the UK.

"I've been very lucky to have had top specialists such as Paul and Allison dedicated to getting me back on my bike," said Bäckstedt. "The bio-resonance therapy is quite new and has helped speed up the healing process in the tendon. Tendon injuries are not as straight forward as a strained muscle or broken bones, they take longer to regenerate themselves."

Bäckstedt has started this week with short turbo trainer workouts that will gradually increase over the coming weeks. "I can't express the frustration I have felt with this injury," he continued. "When you crash and break something or lose large amounts of skin that you normally get when you crash, it's easier to deal with because you can physically see the injury. With this it's tougher to deal with mentally, but I have had incredible support from my family and would like to thank fans all over the World for their messages of support. I also need to give special thanks to my coach Steve Benton and manager Martin McCrossan for keeping me sane through it all."

The next target for Bäckstedt is to be fit and ready to tackle the Dauphiné Libéré which starts on June 4. He will then look to get back in shape to see if he can go one better than his sprint into Karlsruhe on stage 7 of last year's Tour de France, where he narrowly missed out to Robbie McEwen.

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