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Giro Diaries Day 12: Backstedt Is Back, Baby!

Team Fakta’s Magnus Backstedt gets back in touch after enjoying a mountain stage for the first time in his life… here’s his diary from stages 8 – 12… “Sorry I haven’t been in touch the last couple of days. It has been a couple of very stressful days, with long transfers and a couple of hard stages.”

Stage 8
This was a very controlled day by the zebra boys. Mario was well up for a stage today and I wanted to try the sprint as it suited me very well. The last 1300m was straight in to the finish. My team did a great job first for the inter Giro where I am now lying 2nd and then they really got it together for the final sprint. They were coming up to me one by one at just the right times to move me up to the front. With 1100m Lars came past me and took me up to Petachi’s wheel and there I stayed until they started the sprint. Cipollini, McEwen and Petachi gapped me when they opened up their sprints. I was then coming back on to them the last 100 meters but ran out of space on the road and couldn’t pass them. I ended up running 4th which is a very good result for me.

Stage 9
Another very easy stage with Garzelli’s team doing the pace making on the front for the whole day. It came in to a sprint and I almost crashed with 6 km to go and was out of contention straight off. I had to put my foot out and came to a complete standstill at the bottom of this small hill. So I just rolled in at the back of the peloton. Werner ended up running 9th.

Stage 10 – Fakta’s First Giro Win!
We have all been a bit scared of this day. It was very hilly all day and those days are always difficult. You have to really dig deep to stay with the front guys as long as possible to make the time cut. I was going well
from the first climb. There was 16 guys who got away just before the top, and I had the possibility to go with them, but hesitated. I then got away on the way down the other side, but never quite made it up to the front boys. Kurt was in that group. He was going so strong today. With about 40 km to go I had to let go from the front group, but I was in a good group and there was no worry for the time cut. Kurt ended up getting caught by Simoni and they stayed away to the finish were Kurt won the sprint easy.Very nice ride from him. The team is on a roll at the moment, we are enjoying the racing every day and keep on getting in the attacks. I just hope we can continue like this until the end.

Day 11

Today Im just happy to be alive after the sprint.
It was just one of the most dangerous finals I have done in a long time. But first I have to tell you about the work the boys did for me for the intergiro. They lined up to do the lead out for me with about 4 km to go to
the sprint. There was 2 other teams going for it as well with all their boys ready to go. With just over a km to go I screamed for the boys to go, and did they go!!!! We came in to the right hand corner about 20km/h too fast. I saw there was only 500m to go and I still had 5 boys in front of me, so I decided to go around them on the outside of the corner. The rest of them were just trying to keep their bikes upright. When I got out of the corner I had Frank and Scott in front of me. That was just perfect. The guy in the blue jersey got caught just a bit behind my team mates and had to make a big effort to get back on to my wheel. When he got on Frank just opened up his sprint and the guy really had to give it some to stay with us. I ended up
winning the sprint and Jan Svorada did me a big favour in beating the guy in the blue jersey, I think his name is Di Biase. So now Im just 5 sec down on him in that competition. For the rest of the day we had a fair bit of rain and when we got in to the finishing lap there were guys on their back sides everywhere. I then decided to just stay on the inside line in every corner, because then there can’t come anyone on the inside of me and drop themselves and wipe me out as well. Coming in to the final corner I had already put my breaks on waiting for a big bang, and yes, I was right there were a big pile of bikes and people on the ground. Not really my cup of tea. I am pretty keen on racing tomorrow as well. Next time maybe!

Day 12!
Today was the steepest climb in the whole Giro. I was a bit scared of this day before we started. We had another couple of climbs before finishing on the top of this monster climb. I was going really well the whole day. I got over the first climb only a minute down on the front group, and when you are an ex downhill skier you like coming down the other side. So I went down like a nutter. I got back on at the bottom of the decent and stayed with the front boys until 2 km from the top of the second last climb which was only
about 5 km from the start of the last one. Then I rode tempo on the last one. The last 3 km was really steep, and I was pretty happy I had my 38×27 gear on the bike. I finished some 12 min or so down on Simoni who won the stage. All in all I had a very nice day. It was the first time in my whole career that I have enjoyed a mountain stage. For tomorrow I will try to do something in the intergiro and maybe have a go at the sprint, but we will see what happens. I feel really good so I’m very positive about the rest of the giro.

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