After 13 years of professional cycling, 34-year-old Magnus Backstedt will step down from the highest level of the sport. Backstedt will take his career learnings, combined with what he has gleaned from Garmin-SlipstreamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dedication to the next generation of cycling champions, to work with his own development squad and to stay on as a consultant for GarminÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s young riders.
To many who have watched the big Swede fight one severe injury after another in recent years, the announcement does not come as a surprise. Backstedt has suffered a career-threatening knee injury, melanoma, a separated shoulder and a broken collarbone.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Taking a step down from the highest level of the sport I love and from a team I love is the hardest decision I have ever made, but at the same time I am excited for the new challenges ahead,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Backstedt. Ã¢â‚¬Å“At some point you have to realize that the daily punishment you are forcing your body to go through is taking its toll. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve fought my way back many times since winning Paris Roubaix in 2004, but my new fight will be to focus my energy on my own development team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Read ‘more‘ to see the official statement from Magnus Backstedt…
Backstedt will continue to act as a consultant for Team Garmin-Slipstream where he will mentor younger athletes, and he will also focus on a Swedish team he has created with business partner Martin McCrossan and Cyclesport.se founder Dennis Nystrand. Cyclesport.se-MagnusMaximusCoffee.com is a Swedish registered continental team, where Backstedt will have opportunity to teach and train young riders as a rider, director and sponsor.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will miss Magnus this year. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a tremendous leader and an inspired mentor for the younger athletes,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO and director sportif of Team Garmin-Slipstream. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But we are happy that Magnus will stay on to play a consulting role with us. We wish him the best of luck with his new team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Official Statement from Magnus Backstedt:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have had a fantastic career. I turned pro at 21; I have raced with some of the best riders and teams in the world. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve won a stage of the Tour de France and the biggest one-day classic in the world, among others. I can take a step down from the highest level of the sport with my head held high and with the knowledge that I helped bring about a change in the sport by being involved with Garmin-Slipstream. I believe in a NEW clean future for our sport and I can pass this onto my own young riders.
I want to thank Jonathan Vaughters, Doug Ellis, every single person in the team, everyone at Garmin and our other sponsors who have supported me.
Most of all I want to thank my family (wife and two daughters especially), friends and all the people who have helped me through the years. I also want to thank my fans. You guys have been a huge contributing factor in helping me get back from each setback.
As they say, as one door closes, another one opens. New beginnings with no regrets. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m still going to ride my bike, wind down and bring on the future champions. Thank you all!Ã¢â‚¬Â