Magnus Bäckstedt on returning to Peloton as a DS

Magnus Backstedt received sport director offers for 2023, from several teams in the women’s or men’s pelotons. However, the former Swedish pro knew that he wanted to be involved in women’s racing.

Backstedt was appointed on October 2022 as the lead sports director of the Canyon–SRAM team. He hopes to help them get back on track and win more competitions. He will be taking the reins as sports director for the first time in nearly a decade.

Backstedt was keen to get involved with women’s cycling, as both his daughters are now part of WorldTeam squads.

Backstedt explained to CityRyde that he was offered the opportunity to work with a team of men as well. In the end, he chose to take the women’s side of this sport. There are many reasons why this happened. It was for me the excitement at where women’s cycling is now and what it looks like over the next few years. I also wanted to be part of shaping the sport as it becomes mainstream media.

“I really look forward to being a part of that and it practically felt like taking another step into the world I was part of before.”

Backstedt was previously a team manager and a sport director after filling the same position with some British domestic teams before moving into the commentary box in 2013. Since then, he has been a prominent co-commentator on Eurosport.

His decision to step away from the hustle of working with the team car was planned. Backstedt wanted to be there for his two daughters (Zoe and Elynor), who were passionate about racing.

Now that Zoe, who won the junior time trial and road race title at the 2021 UCI Road World Championships, is signing up for EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, and Elynor has already joined Trek-Segafredo, Backstedt is ready to do it all again.

“I raced my own race and ran a UCI Conti team for a few more years. Then I realized that the girls required my time and my presence. He said that this way he was able to help them when they began showing more interest in doing this at a higher level. It was a conscious decision to give them the time they needed to to grow and do their best with their teams. It was OK, now it’s time for me to pursue something I am passionate about.”

“It’s something I have missed for many years. It’s a great way to invest in my girls but it also has a different aspect. You’re a dad and want your daughters to succeed. There’s a lot of emotion and adrenaline involved. It’s something that excites and thrills me to actually run a team on the sporting side.”

Bäckstedt, along with both his daughters working in the Women’s WorldTour will eventually be competing against one another. Sibling rivalry can be one thing. But racing against your children is another.

Megan Hughes is Backstedt’s wife. He isn’t one to get stressed easily and is taking it all in stride. Now that he works in the Women’s WorldTour, he has more time to spend with his daughters than if he were working elsewhere.

He said, “I know we’re going up against my daughters, fairly frequently, and I’ve already participated in a couple races this year, sort of watching, learning, looking at Canyon SRAM, and having a say in the bike race and in the team car.” It works for us as a family. It’s not something we see as strange. It is just what we do and who we are.

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