Tour Series Spot Interviews Downing & Backstedt

Talking to two of the riders in the Halfords Tour Series about crit racing in Britain

Magnus Backstedt

The winner of a stage in the Tour de France and the monument classic, Paris-Roubaix, came into the Halfords Tour Series in round 2 in Wales and says that he’s enjoyed it so far. “It was kind of weird to get into that kind of racing again as it has been a long time since I did this and I found myself being a little too chilled out and riding it like a road race rather than being aggressive throughout the race.”

“You have to get yourself g’d up straight away and have a much more aggressive riding style where as in a road race you have more time to chill and think about your tactics.  In a crit, you’re on it the whole time and you need to be near the front because on some courses, there will only be one spot where you can move up.”

Dean Downing

Talking prior to round 3 at Peterborough, his first in the 2011 series, Dean reflected on the good form he had in Ireland recently. “We had a good start to the RAS and I don’t think I have had a leadout as good as that before. Then through my own stupid fault after two mechanicals, I was holding onto the car (Dean was DQ’d) and I apologised to the RAS and to my sponsors.”

“I’m glad to be here at the Tour Series.”

Asked for the difference between road racing and circuit racing, he explained “There is a lot of concentration involved in crit racing. In a road race, you can lose concentration because there are periods when nothing happens but in a crit, if you do that you’ll find yourself ten places back or twenty places back and you have to make that up when the speeds are so much higher.”

“You either love or hate them and then there are the guys who do them both really well like Kristian House.”

Dean added that there is no difference to his bike that he uses for crits and that the only difference is the position because unlike a road race, you’re always on it and shifting about on the bike.  The hardest thing Dean says is the sprinting in and out of corners. “On a course like Peterborough where there are five corners, you’re sprinting five times every minute and a half and the further back you are, or the slower you have to go in to the corner to brake behind another rider, the faster you have to go to catch the rider in front when the race is already on the limit”.

“When you are in the top 10, you tend to float more round the corners and sometimes you don’t even have to hit the brakes. It is more fluid through the bends at the front”.

Asked is he up and down the dears in a crit, Dean says, “you have to try and keep the legs loose, that is what I like to do anyway,  so spinning gears instead of pushing gears. On the flat circuits you don’t use too many gears and tend to stay around the middle of the block (14/15/16).

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