Following an injury-troubled winter and a spring where he has spent much of his time recovering from those injuries, 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt will make a voyage into the unknown on Sunday. But it?s a voyage he says he?s ready for.
?I?ve done absolutely everything I can to be ready under the circumstances and I?m feeling really good.? Backstedt told CW on Friday afternoon. ?So I say, ?bring it on?.?
Like many real Roubaix fans, he would prefer it the good weather disappeared on Sunday – something that currently looks unlikely to happen. ?It would make it more interesting, more fun to race. I?ve been doing the raindance every night of this week, but hey, really I?m just glad to be there. I can?t afford to be disappointed after what I?ve been through.?
He admits he has few reference points because he?s not been taking part in any of the Belgian one-day Classics. ?But maybe it?ll be better for me not have ridden 250 kilometres in Flanders then had to go through a crash-ridden Ghent-Wevelgem on Wednesday. And I?ve ridden cleverly and tactically over the last three weeks, taking my time, slowly getting stronger and stronger.?
?Really, we?ll only know on Sunday if that lack of racing is to my advantage. But given the circumstances, if you bear in mind it?s only since February 20th that I?ve been able to ride my bike properly, the mere fact I?ll be there on Sunday at the start-line is already a triumph. Everything from then on is a big bonus.?
?I pulled out of the Circuite de la Sarthe on stage three because I want to be as fresh as I can for Roubaix. Ideally, I?ll do the first half of the race on freshness and the second half on strength.?
On Saturday Backstedt will do a couple of hours easy riding in the morning, ?just to keep the legs turning.?
Backstedt?s season by no means stops on Sunday in any case. He says he is also gunning for some good rides in the Tour prologue and first few stages of the Tour in July.
?But really I want to see what happens at Roubaix first. After that is another story.?
Liquigas team for Roubaix: Magnus Backstedt, Filippo Pozzato, Michael Albasini, Mauro Da Dalto, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Roberto Petito, Alessandro Vanotti and Frederik Willems.