TalkingShop: Exciting season ahead for UK Youth says Magnus

Paris Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt  “We just want to get going, I can’t wait to pin the number on for the first time! We have an exciting season coming up”.

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Last year was the first time that Magnus Backstedt rode the British Classic the Perfs Pedal, it poured with rain, and his team, UK Youth are certainly stepping up things for this year with this line up at the race:  Magnus Backstedt , Yanto Barker, Niklas Gustavsson, Fredrick Johansson, Gruff Lewis,  James Lowsley-Williams, David Mcgowan, Chris Opie, and James Stewart (former winner).

Magnus giving it big licks during some intensity training in the sun.Photo: Fusion Media (

“We’re definitely going into the race with a view to win it” he said on the phone yesterday.  “Anything less will be a bit of a let down personally but we have to be realistic that there are a lot of strong teams and riders out there now. I think it will be a tough race this year going back to the old course.”

The team have quite a few riders who have shown themselves to be capable of winning it and after the training camp, Magnus is feeling positive that their rivals will have to watch them all. [pullquote]“The team has taken a significant step up and guys like Yanto and Chris Opie, I knew they were good last year, but  as far as I can see, they are at that level where they were last summer when I decided to sign them, and its only February.”[/pullquote]

“ The team is looking strong but we know though there are a lot of other guys on the start line at the Perfs who are going to want to beat us.”

Magnus was also realistic in that the Perfs is over a month before the Premier Calendar events start and it is also a short race compared to others they will be tackling in the latter half of February and into March when they go to Europe.

Photo: Fusion Media (

“It is important for us we get a good start but at the same time, our focus is on the Premier Calendar races and hopefully the Halfords Tour Series which is one of our big goals too. And, if we’re talking Premier Calendars, we have to get out to Europe and during the weeks before the first Premier Calendar event that is where the aim will be; to do well in Europe and come back here that much stronger and that much fitter having done longer and faster races.”

After a few short races in Britain, the Perfs Pedal and Springtime Pursuit in the South West, Magnus and the team will head to Ster Van Zwolle – Zwolle in Holland on February 25 with a few other British teams including Raleigh. They then travel around Europe to other races before heading back to Britain and Premier number one, the Maldon Dengie Tour.

UK Youth is quite a young team with a lot of experienced riders which when it comes to tactics on the road without race radios, will put them in a good position.  The training camp in Gran Canaria saw the riders physically also take a step up or two says Magnus with an eye on the European campaign and the Prems that follow.

In the warm sun, the team put in a lot of miles and a lot of intensity geared towards the European races. [pullquote]“It will be nice to get out to places like Holland, Belgium and France and get some proper miles in for the Prems” Magnus explained. [/pullquote]

Will Yanto Barker add his name to the list of winners for the Perfs Pedal on February 12th? Photo: Fusion Media (

The rider who has not only won the blue ribbon of the classics, Paris Roubaix, but also triumphed with stages in the Tour de France, Tour of Italy and podiums in classics like Gent Wevelgem, does feel that the Premier Calendar races do need to be longer.

“A 100 miles is still too short in my opinion.  They should nothing less than a 110 or 120 miles otherwise the gap is too big for those going to Europe whether they be in UCI Conti teams or even Elite club riders when they get the opportunity to race in Europe.”

“Organisers should also increase the distance of national as As and Bs to 100 miles and then we would have an even better Premier Calendar series. The level of the riders and racing is going up every year and this year will be one of the best years ever.”

Good luck to Magnus and UK Youth and see you all at the Perfs!


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