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The Swedish former rider retired from racing in 2009 for the first time following a 15-year career that saw him race for the likes of Liquigas and Slipstream-Chipotle. He made brief return to racing in 2012 and 2013 before handing up his wheels again.
Since his retirement, he has worked as a commentator for Eurosport and GCN, as well as running a coffee business, and competing in Ironmans. He has also helped guide his daughters through the early parts of their cycling careers.
His eldest, Elynor, is a pro with Trek-Segafredo, and his youngest, Zoë, is set to step up to the professional ranks with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB next season after a year that saw her take four junior world titles, including the road race and time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Australia last month.
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With both of his daughters now in the WorldTour, Bäckstedt decided to get back into the engine room of professional cycling.
“Once my two girls were out in the big world looking after themselves, I felt it was the right time for me to pursue my passion in the sport again and started to look for a role as a sport director actively,” Bäckstedt said. “Ronny [Lauke] got in touch with me, and I felt we clicked straight away; we have a similar view on many things. Once I had seen how the team operates and met the riders and staff, it just felt it was the right place for me.
“I’m excited to take on this role. It’s exciting times for women’s cycling and being part of that makes me happy and proud.”
Canyon-SRAM is set to finish sixth in the UCI team standings at the end of this season following a very consistent season by the team. Though it only racked up three victories this year, through Pauliena Rooijakkers and Shari Bossuyt, the team secured third overall at the Tour de France Femmes through Kasia Niewiadoma along with other high finishes.
Team manager Ronny Lauke is hoping that Bäckstedt will some fresh perspective that can help push the team forward.
“We are very pleased that Magnus joins the team to guide it from a sporting perspective in the future. Magnus brings a vast amount of experience and knowledge of the sport from several perspectives that will benefit our team,” Lauke said.
“From being a successful rider to a well-respected commentator with his knowledge and race analyses, and now several years with an eye on women’s cycling. Combined with his empathy and passion for the sport, we are confident that Magnus will be a fresh addition that will help the group unleash its potential. There is a drive and determination from the team for success in 2023, and Magnus will play a big role in that.”