Magnus Backstedt (Team UK Youth) was one of the key players in today’s sixth stage of the 2012 Tour of Britain.
Backstedt was one of a six strong breakaway that at one stage gained sufficient time over then race leader, Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEDGE) to make him the virtual leader on GC.
The Swede was determined to show his abilities on the roads of his adopted home and combined with his fellow escapees to build a lead that peaked at 7.50.
“It was one of those days where I wanted to be in the break, virtually going into my home town, maybe 10 miles down the road from where I live,” he told RoadCyclingUK.
“The Welsh stage was always going to be a bit special for me. Unfortunately, with a tough finishing circuit, me winning the stage was virtually out of the question. This was the second best thing really, to just go out there and spend the whole day in the breakaway and show up my riding.”
Some of the biggest crowds of the race so far lined the 189.8km stage, the overwhelming majority of whom were cheering the efforts of the honorary Welshman.
“I might as well have been riding among my family,” Backstedt joked. “I don’t think I went a metre without hearing my name, whichever town it was. On Caerphilly Mountain, it was deafening. It was really cool; really quite nice.”
Five of the six domestic teams were represented in the breakaway, showing the strength in depth of the British road race scene. Backstedt was joined by Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp), Marcin Bialoblocki (Node4-Giodana), Dan Craven (Team IG-Sigma Sport), and Graham Briggs (Raleigh-GAC), as well as by Pieter Ghyllebert (AN Post-Sean Kelly). But a rider’s familiarity with his breakaway companions is far less important than similarity of riding style, willingness to work together, and having ‘the legs’ to stay away, said Backstedt.
He revealed that the group had agreed not to press for too great an advantage in the early stages of their escape and arouse concern among the pursuing bunch. “If you get a massive gap too quickly that spreads panic in the peloton and they start riding hard earlier and everything becomes more difficult. The idea was to back off the pace a little bit to the pace the peloton was riding, and when they up the pace, to respond to that,” he said.
Backstedt’s Team UK Youth squad is backed by nutrition firm, Maxifuel. The 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner told RCUK he had eaten throughout the stage to fuel his effort in the breakaway; a task made easier by the proximity to the team car enjoyed by riders ahead of the peloton. “You put your hand up and the car comes alongside you and you get what you want. It’s pretty much an open bar,” he joked.
The stage exploded on the first ascent of Caerphilly Mountain, where Backstedt was the first of the escapees to be swept up by Endura Racing’s Jon Tiernan-Locke, who launched his bid for the race lead as soon as the peloton reached the slopes. “The way he came past me today was just phenomenal,” said Backstedt.
A powerfully built sprinter, Backstedt conceded he would struggle on the double figure gradients of Caerphilly Mountain, but said he was pleased with his efforts earlier in the stage. Tomorrow offers another stern challenge of a rider’s climbing legs on terrain that could suit the new race leader. “Tomorrow is the hardest stage of this year’s Tour. It’s very likely that Tiernan-Locke goes up the road in the finale,” said Backstedt.
Magnus Backstedt is a Maxifuel ambassador. Maxifuel products are used by each member of the Team UK Youth squad.