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Liquigas-Bianchi counts on Bäckstedt

The season of northern racing starts for Italian team Liquigas-Bianchi with the Driedaagse van De Panne, taking place from March 29-31. The team is relying on Magnus Bäckstedt, winner of last year's Paris-Roubaix, to perform in the flat lands of Belgium. The Swede, back from Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-San Remo, is riding these races to train for the competitions that suit him more.

"The Three Days of De Panne will be already a good test to evaluate Bäckstedt's condition in view of Paris-Roubaix," said managing director Roberto Amadio. "Magnus did his best to get ready for this, although the flu has stopped his training more than once. But I'm sure he will be able to play a leading role in these races where - let's not forget it - luck is also a determining factor."

In De Panne, Bäckstedt will be supported by his fellow countryman Marcus Ljungqvist and by the Italians Mauro Gerosa, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi, Marco Righetto, Gian Luca Sironi and Marco Zanotti. The same squad will also start at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, April 3, Gent-Wevelgem on Wednesday, April 6 and Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, April 10.

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