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Magnus Backstedt failed to break the world derny paced hour record on Saturday night, but his heroic 233 lap, 58.25km effort inspired the crowd in a packed Newport velodrome.

Backstedt’s record attempt was the highlight of an evening of top class racing featuring many of the UK’s top track riders. Backstedt’s Team Liquigas team-mates turned out to provide support and organise an impromptu ‘Roadman’s Pursuit’ competition among themselves, providing great entertainment for the crowd. Kierin, devil-take-the-hindmost, and points races provided an action packed evening.

Good omens

Speaking to RCUK before he began his warm up, Backstedt was relaxed and confident of taking the record. He’d been training on the Newport track behind the derny, and had a great rapport with his derny driver, Paul Spender. Although he’d had a troubled season on the road, he felt in great from after completing the Tour of Spain. The only concern during the run-in to the record attempt was some confusion with the UCI about the wheels he would be allowed to use, but even that had given him little to worry about.

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Other top riders were sure that Magnus would break the record. Sprinters Craig McLean and Ross Edgar told RCUK that the Newport track felt quicker than the Manchester velodrome. Young Hannah Manley then proved this point when she broke the UK girl’s under 12 1500m record, taking over two seconds off the previous record in a time of 2.09.124. With one record already broken, the signs were good for Backstedt’s attempt.

Man on a mission

The Magnus Backstedt that emerged for the record attempt was a different man to the relaxed, affable guy we had spoken to an hour earlier. He was now a man on a mission, and every inch the rider who strikes fear into the pro peloton. Music filled the velodrome (“Magnus wants it really loud" said the DJ), the crowd went wild, and Magnus prowled the track for a few laps, turning an enormous 60x13 gear (that’s 125 inches in old money). On the starting line he looked fit, lean, mean and hungry, and the 66km record seemed to be his for the taking.

For the first few laps, everything went according to plan. Magnus was tucked in behind the derny, stalking it effortlessly along the blue line around the track at nearly 40mph. Slowly but surely his coach was moving step by step along the home straight, indicating that Magnus was ahead of schedule and breaking the world record. The crowd was ecstatic – we were watching history in the making.

Newport, we have a problem

But then something went wrong. The high speed harmony between derny and bike went awry. Magnus was shouting. He lost contact with the derny and had to sprint to catch it down the back straight, then nearly clipped its wheel on the bend. We saw his coach take a step back down the home straight. Then another. And another.

At the 5 minute time check Magnus had covered 4.95km, but was 170m behind schedule. Slowly but surely, he fell further and further behind, and the effortless early laps were forgotten. Magnus was now fighting a duel with time.

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The half hour mark came all too soon. Magnus had covered 29.37km, and was now over 3.4km off the world record pace set by Matthe Pronk in 2004. He dropped down the track, and followed the red line for a few laps where the lap distance is shorter, trying to turn the tide in his favour, but to no avail. His face had become a mask of pain.

With the record slipping away, the crowd became quiet as it seemed certain that Magnus would retire. Not even David Duffield’s non-stop commentary could reignite their enthusiasm. But quitting is not an option for Magnus Backstedt. He had come to ride for an hour, and ride for an hour was what he would do.

It felt inhuman to watch Magnus ride the final 15 minutes, grimacing in agony and knowing the record was beyond his grasp, but those 15 minutes won the respect and admiration of the crowd in a way that somehow eclipsed the glory that would have come from breaking the record. Magnus gave us a world-class display of courage. His final lap of the circuit was accompanied by a cacophony of cheers, whistles and applause that drowned out the music (still loud!).

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Man of the people

After he’d caught his breath, hugged his kids, and been interrogated by the Swedish media that had come for the event, Magnus had time for a quick chat with RCUK, in between signing autographs and posing for photos with fans. It’s a cliché, but he really is the nicest guy you could wish to meet.

“For some reason, pacing was a problem for us tonight" he said. “I don’t know why. In training we have ridden hard for half an hour and been well ahead of the world record pace, and if felt effortless. I really want to break this record, and I’m confident that I can do it. There’s a lot we can learn from tonight and improve on."

We asked if he felt like quitting at any point “No. I couldn’t quit because people have paid money and come here to see me try my hardest. I feel disappointed that I’ve let the Welsh crowd down." And did it hurt? “Only from just after the first two minutes up until the end." So that’s a ‘yes’ then!

He’ll be back

Take it from us, Magnus is going to have another crack at this record. He really wants it very badly. There weren’t any hints about the next attempt, but we reckon it’s only a matter of time before Backstedt blasts in Newport again. Watch this space.

You can watch Magnus’ record attempt on Eurosport, on Friday 4th November.


The Baby Backstedts He's a real nice guy
Star sprinting support from Ross Edgar and Craig Maclean
nice sweater, Belgian Derny rider perhaps? 60x13 that's a man's gear

Results

Race 1: Scratch – 10km

1 16 Gibb, Tony 11:32.688

2 23 Blythe, Adam

3 12 Taylor, Bryan

4 14 Smith, Tom

5 18 White, Tom

6 24 Rowe, Matt

7 13 Hallam, Ben

8 15 Sheppard, Paul

9 28 Hampton, Russell

10 26 Partridge, Rob

11 Cummings, Steve

17 Taylor, James

19 Bowditch, Gerry

20 Bonnici, Steve

21 Appleby, Dale

22 Kelly, Mark

25 Streather, Jason

27 Rowe, Luke

29 Lloyd, Rhys

Race 2: Keirin Round 1 – 2km

First heat

1 4 Edgar, Ross 3 11.821

2 2 Norfolk, Jon 2

3 1 McLean, Craig 1

4 3 Thompson, Robin

5 5 Rendall, Dave

Second heat

1 6 Storey, Barney 3 13.054

2 7 Elliott, Ben 2

3 8 Thomas, Rhys 1

4 9 Mahaad - Iran

Race 3: Devil – 2 laps free, 1 out every 2 laps

1 17 Taylor, James 9:49.642

2 16 Gibb, Tony

3 12 Taylor, Bryan

4 14 Smith, Tom

5 23 Blythe, Adam

6 21 Appleby, Dale

7 18 White, Tom

8 24 Rowe, Matt

9 22 Kelly, Mark

10 25 Streather, Jason

11 28 Hampton, Russell

12 19 Bowditch, Gerry

13 13 Hallam, Ben

14 11 Cummings, Steve

15 15 Sheppard, Paul

16 27 Rowe, Luke

17 26 Partridge, Rob

18 20 Bonnici, Steve

Race 4: Roadman’s Pursuit – 2km – Heat 1 1 30 Cioni, Dario 2:40.412

2 31 Calcagni, Patrick

Race 5: Roadman’s Pursuit – 2km – Heat 2 1 32 Milesi, Marco 2:42.559

2 33 Scirea, Mario

Race 6: Pursuit – Record Attempt over 1.5km (current record 2m.11.114s)

Hannah Manley (GBR) - 250m 23.883s 500m 44.618s 750m 1:05.618s 1,000m 1:26.943s 1,250m 1:48.206s 1,500m 2:09.120s New world record

Racing 7: Keirin Round 2 – 2km

First heat

1 1 McLean, Craig 3 11.477

3 3 Thompson, Robin 2

4 5 Rendall, Dave 1

2 7 Elliott, Ben

5 9 Mahaad - Iran

Second heat

1 4 Edgar, Ross 3 11.681

2 2 Norfolk, Jon 2

3 6 Storey, Barney 1

4 8 Thomas, Rhys

Race 8: Points Race – 20km, points laps announced during race

1 11 Cummings, Steve 65

2 23 Blythe, Adam 48

3 18 White, Tom 47

4 16 Gibb, Tony 45

5 12 Taylor, Bryan 30

6 13 Hallam, Ben 25

7 14 Smith, Tom 20

8 15 Sheppard, Paul 5

9 20 Bonnici, Steve 4

10 26 Partridge, Rob 3

11 17 Taylor, James 3

12 22 Kelly, Mark 1

13 19 Bowditch, Gerry 1

21 Appleby, Dale

24 Rowe, Matt

25 Streather, Jason

27 Rowe, Luke

28 Hampton, Russell

29 Lloyd, Rhys

Race 9: Keirin Final

1 1 McLean, Craig 11.540

2 4 Edgar, Ross

3 6 Storey, Barney

4 2 Norfolk, Jon

5 7 Elliott, Ben

Race 11: Roadman’s Pursuit Final

1 32 Milesi, Marco 2:28.649

2 30 Cioni, Dario

Magnus Backstedt – Hour Derny Record Attempt

Derny paced one hour record attempt – Magnus Backstedt paced by Paul Spender

(Kilometre _ Lap _ Lap _ Lap Whole Lap)

1 23.581 40.465 56.638 1:12.136

2 1:27.167 1:40.726 1:56.233 2:10.526

3 2:24.808 2:39.000 2:53.276 3:07.573

4 3:21.734 3:35.727 3:49.854 4:04.014

5 4:18.449 4:33.177 4:47.978 5:03.369

6 5:18.679 5:33.793 5:48.965 6:04.245

7 6:19.554 6:34.925 6:50.102 7:05.230

8 7:20.261 7:36.105 7:52.211 8:08.233

9 8:23.970 8:39.682 8:55.142 9:10.588

10 9:25.955 9:41.320 9:56.535 10:10.721

11 10:26.800 10:41.807 10:56.683 11:11.733

12 11:26.609 11:41.524 11:56.242 12:10.856

13 12:25.595 12:40.441 12:55.499 13.10.625

14 13:26.282 13:42.063 13:57.487 14:13.060

15 14:28.652 14:43.868 14:59.111 15:14.284

16 15:29.376 15:44.455 15:59.682 16:14.905

17 16:29.910 16:44.988 17:00.252 17:15.378

18 17:30.359 17:45.149 17:59.941 18:14.912

19 18:30.158 18:45.229 19:00.476 19:16.143

20 19:31.615 19:47.067 20:02.079 20:17.941

21 20:34.706 20:50.514 21:05.920 21:21.739

22 21:37.832 21:53.747 22:09.710 22:25.515

23 22:41.038 22:56.569 23:12.108 23:27.947

24 23:42.933 23:58.477 24:13.854 24:29.164

25 24:44.453 24:59.776 25:14.900 25:29.843

26 25:44.895 25:59.950 26:15.611 26:31.365

27 26:46.817 27:02.282 27:17.748 27:33.151

28 27:48.594 28:04.071 28:19.550 28:35.206

29 28:51.087 29:06.921 29:22.576 29:38.202

30 29:53.960 30:09.826 30:25.633 30:41.419

31 30:57.160 31:12.738 31:28.411 31:44.205

32 31:59.916 32:16.638 32:31.454 32:47.156

33 33:02.657 33:18.143 33:33.604 33:49.285

34 34:04.924 34:20.472 34:36.158 34:51.693

35 35:07.088 35:22.779 35:38.600 35:54.460

36 36:10.314 36:26.288 36:41.990 36:57.805

37 37:13.765 37:29.642 37:45.268 38:00.902

38 38:16.611 38:32.196 38:47.597 39:03.108

39 39:18.892 39:34.427 39:49.888 40:05.330

40 40:20.599 40:35.936 40:51.509 41:06.887

41 41:22.321 41:37.592 41:53.028 42:08.383

42 42:23.726 42:39.179 42:54.828 43:10.575

43 42:26.314 43:42.390 43:57.904 44:13.575

44 44:29.155 44:44.531 44:59.816 45:15.263

45 45:30.709 45:46.262 46:01.707 46:17.317

46 46:33.038 46:48.728 47:04.332 47:20.182

47 47:35.894 47:51.476 48:07.170 48:22.816

48 48:38.466 48:54.356 49:10.074 49:25.678

49 49:41.822 49:57.857 50:13.711 50:29.354

50 50:45.088 51:00.709 51:16.329 51:32.029

51 51:47.809 52:03.371 52:19.014 52:34.901

52 52:50.967 53:06.897 53:22.821 53:38.825

53 53:54.797 54:10.791 54:26.711 54:42.416

54 54:57.559 55:13.544 55:29.430 55:45.883

55 56:02.186 56:18.177 56:34.203 56:50.122

56 57:06.052 57:21.720 57:37.649 57:53.448

57 58:09.237 58:24.855 58:40.544 58:56.299

58 59:11.698 59:26.899 59:42.130 59:57.543

Finish Time: 01:00:12.582

58.046 kilometres covered