Team UK Youth are fifth in the 2012 Tour of Britain’s team classification after three stages, with Endura Racing the only domestic team ahead of them.
Magnus Backstedt, the team’s road captain, one of the most experienced riders in the race, is giving daily updates to RoadCyclingUK, and on today’s 161.4km stage from Jedburgh to Dumfries, was one of the strong men at the head of the peloton helping to haul in a two-man breakaway in the final five kilometres.
Half of Team UK Youth were among the first 20 riders home today, with Welshman, Yanto Barker, crossing the line in 10th position.
Backstedt told RCUK he was disappointed to have missed a breakaway started by Peter Hawkins (Team IG-Sigma Sport) and Wesley Kreder (Vacansoleil-DCM) after covering each of the earlier attempts. “I was quite upset with myself for missing it but that’s how these things go,” he said.
North of the border for the first time this race, the peloton suffered the discomfort of several Scottish showers. “I lost the feeling in my fingers and toes – it was proper, proper horrible,” said Backstedt. He described heavy, cold showers, interspersed with conditions warm enough to ride without arm or knee warmers, before being plunged suddenly into conditions that had him considering Belgian booties, gloves, and rain jacket.
“There’s no way you can stay warm through the whole stage. Some people like to keep their raincoat with them and flap with it, taking it on and off the whole time, but as long as we’re racing I tend to ride through it, particularly if it’s intermittent weather, then I don’t fuss about with a raincoat and I just live with it,” he said.
Backstedt shrugged off the discomfort of the inclement weather and found himself strengthening towards the stage’s denouement. “I could see Yanto [Barker] and Chris [Opie] boxed in on the far side of the road and the peloton wasn’t quite going fast enough because Sky were one or two guys short coming into the last five kilometres.
“They didn’t quite have the man power so I went up there to give them a turn and, as it happened, that strung the peloton out which kept Yanto and Chris safe. Yanto ended up ninth [he was tenth – ed] in the end so that’s an ok result for us,” he said.
The race has been marked by British success with stage wins for Team Sky’s Luke Rowe and Mark Cavendish, Endura Racing’s Russell Downing a key player in each of the sprint finishes, and Kristian House (Rapha-Condor) and Team IG-Sigma Sport’s Peter Hawkins prime movers in the longest breakaway of today’s stage. “All the British teams are showing themselves well, the smaller teams as well as the bigger teams,” said Backstedt. “Cav winning is certainly adding more global value to the race. The crowds have been absolutely spectacular. There have been so many people out watching and today in Dumfries was the same.”
The popularity of the Tour of Britain among WorldTour teams seeking final preparation for the world road race championships could increase if the race holds its position on the calendar, he added.
Tomorrow the riders will tackle another lumpy stage, a 156km route from Carlisle to Blackpool that includes the testing ascent of Shap Fell, which tops out at over 400 metres. “It’s likely to be another breakaway that goes then a big bunch sprint on the seafront in Blackpool,” said Backstedt.
Magnus Backstedt is a Maxifuel ambassador. Maxifuel is used by each member of the Team UK Youth squad.