Talkingshop: Backstedt, Williams, Cronshaw & Bjergfelt


Post race chat after the Peter Chisman Memorial Road Race with Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt, Matt Cronshaw, Will Bjergfelt and the race winner Peter Williams

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The weekend saw two grippy races in the North East and with the Tour of the North Cancelled, the fields for the Maureen Bain Memorial and Peter Chisman Memorial were better than most National B events normally have. This meant the two races were great work outs for the riders ahead of the season start on April 21st (CiCLE Classic).

Read about the Maureen Bain Memorial Road Race here and the post race interviews for that event.


After the Peter Chisman event, VeloUK spoke to some of the riders in the race including the race winner Peter Williams (IG Sigma Sport) (above) who was a happy rider that, with March nearly over, he had that victory he wanted.

“I hadn’t won yet in March and I normally do that so I was getting worried!” the IG Sigma Sport rider explained. “The form is coming good though at the right time of the season.”

“I saw the calendar during the winter and thought there was no use going well in February and March because there is no big racing. Rutland is the first big race of the season in a few weeks so hopefully I’ll be going well for that and then the season kicks off.”

Talking about the race, Peter explained how it was a big group that got away early on in a race that the organiser said was harder than the circuit the day before on the Ryals circuit. “Normally a group that size would not work too well but with five of the MG guys in it they were pretty committed. And Matt (Cronshaw) rode quite hard for me and I managed to get a bit of an easier ride”.

“I was going well yesterday so I fancied going for the win today. We just needed to slim down the numbers at the end as they (MG-Maxifuel) had five guys and we did that with two to go and ended up in a group of four with me and Matt so it worked out well.”

The circuit was rolling one, shorter than the one for the Maureen Bain Memorial. On a drive around earlier, the long climb to the finish was a long drag but certainly no Ryals with its 1 in 6 ramp part of a long steep climb that is used in the Beaumont Trophy.

Asked how they managed to do so much damage on the course, Pete replied “It was a grippy course and it was like riding through treacle all day. On the back side, there is a real draggy bit with pot holes (big ones!) and after nine laps around that, it gets to the legs.”

“So we hit it up there with two to go and four of us ended up away and Matt and I just kept 1-2ing them and it worked perfect.”

Asked about the final move that saw him escape, Pete explained “Matt went at a similar place where we split with two to go and I got the free ride on the other two guys and then when they brought Matt back, I just hit it before the descent about four or five k out.”

Peter soloed on to win the race along with his teammate winning the sprint for second.


Matt Cronshaw (IG Sigma Sport). Second the day before and gutted to lose that race, this time Matt was second to a teammate and said whilst still trying to get his breath back after winning the three up sprint for second “it was the perfect day out really. We were in control from the moment we got in the break and knew what to do”.

“It could not have gone any better. Pete and I split it and made the four up break and having been in the same team last year (Node4-Giordana) we both knew either one of us could get away and the other one would mop up the sprint.”

“It’s definitely been a good block of racing. It was a bit disappointing the Tour of North was cancelled because it’s like a staple sort of stage of the year to get some decent racing in on consecutive days so weekends like this are good for the form.”

Will Bjergfelt (MG Maxifuel, 3rd): “The whole team worked really hard for me today. I wasn’t in the break when it went but I had a chat with Maggy last night and he said, if you see a break go up the road, don’t panic. I waited for the gap to go out to 500 or 600 metres and the bunch then tried to organise some through and off.”

“Mossy then flicked his elbow and realised no-one else was coming through and as he did that, I jumped across on my own which meant we had five in the break which was ideal. We got a decent gap then.”

“Maggy told me ‘keep the power dry because you are going well’, so I did and I knew these were home roads for the likes of Pete and Matt so I knew they were always going to be the ones to watch. Maggy and I had a plan which didn’t come into fruition but Pete attacked really really hard and Matt had a go at the same point, and at that point everyone was a little tired so I went with them and McGowan came across which made four of us.”


“To be honest I was loathe to work with it as I had guys behind but at the same time it wasn’t a terrible move to be in and we came here with the aim of a podium so I thought I’ll have a fighting chance of that. I rolled though a few easish turns and I stopped working when I realised Maggy was coming across with Dec (Declan Byrne) and they realised that so they (Peter & Matt) started hitting me with 1-2’s ”

“I brought back a few of those so I was good today. I did what I could at the end but it was always going to be hard when up against Cronshaw and the other thing is I still work full time. A lot of the guys I am racing against are full time where as I have a day job doing 35 hours a week at GKN so its not a bad ride for me. The form is getting better every week and the team have some ambitious targets in the Prems and Tour Series so I want to make this a year that is special for us.”

Magnus Backstedt (MG – Maxifuel). The Tour de France stage winner and Paris Roubaix victor was in the mix on both days and told VeloUK afterwards “I am still short on race days and top end power. In triathlon, you use a certain power output all day long and that was what we did today hitting the big numbers all day in that break and with the amount of riders we had, no-one really wanted to work with us.”


“So we had to take up the larger part of the workload which isn’t ideal at this point of the season. It would have been nice to have put Will (Bjergfelt) in between the Sigma boys but at the end of the day, they (Williams/Cronshaw) are two very fast bike riders. I think we did well to be in amongst them.”

“It has been a positive two days for the team. Yesterday with the work load we had bringing that break back and getting Will to bridge the gap, I was impressed with the way the guys rode and the same today. A few more races and more top end work, we’ll be competitive especially when we get to the Tour Series and I’ll be firing on eight cylinders instead of four and half.”

“This was a good weekend of racing. It’s a shame we don’t have any proper racing in this country anymore. I don’t know what the answer is. If you have a UCI team, you can go across to Europe and get races there but in this country you struggle to get a race longer than 60 miles.”


Magnus Backstedt and Malcolm Elliott share a joke before the start


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