Backstedt: 'Arenberg is Roubaix'

Reigning Paris-Roubaix champion Magnus Backstedt has joined the chorus of disapproval against the wi

Reigning Paris-Roubaix champion Magnus Backstedt has joined the chorus of disapproval against the wi
PICTURE BY TDWSPORT.COM Reigning 'Hell of the North' champion Magnus Backstedt has been quick in making his thoughts public after it was revealed that a major section of the 2005 Paris-Roubaix route has been removed. Backstedt said: "Arenberg is Paris-Roubaix! It is the location of the first major selection in the race. If it's being removed so that it can be restored then I can accept that, but if it's being removed because organisers don't think its safe for riders and they might fall, then that is unacceptable. "You don't go into Paris-Roubaix not thinking about the dangers, it is a dangerous race and that is what makes it the monumental Classic that it is. You come out of the Arenberg section with the contenders generally in the group, you then lose two to three guys a section until you get down to the real potential winners. "I would say that taking out the tough section of the race would be like putting a gear restriction on bunch sprints to limit the speed we sprint at. There are many races that put unnecessary dangers in place, like having the finish 200 metres after a corner that has just had a 2km straight run-in! We as professional riders are all concerned about safety, but in the right place and context." Backstedt is now heading to Italy for the presentation of his 2005 Liquigas-Bianchi team, before moving on to the Tour of Qatar. From there, the Wales-based Swed will return to Europe to begin the build-up to the defence of his 'Hell of the North' crown.
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