Former motor racing Formula 1 star Nigel Mansell and 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt have teamed up for an assault on next year’s Halfords Tour Series, with the big Swede getting back in the saddle to lead a new squad, named Team UK Youth after the charity with which both sportsmen are closely involved.
The 1992 Formula 1 world champion and his sons Leo, aged 25 and Greg, 23, rode alongside Backstedt on a 1,200-mile ride around Britain in support of the charity, of which Nigel Mansell is president, as it celebrated its centenary earlier this year.
During that ride, Backstedt “spotted some immense talent in the two boys,” and after talking with the Mansell family agreed to come out of retirement to lead the team, which aims “to inspire the young people of Britain that anyone can achieve their dreams with a lot of determination and support from those around them” next season.
The brothers, who competed with their father in the 2010 Le Mans series, will be joined in the squad by two other riders from Jersey, where the Mansell family lives and Backstedt, himself based in South Wales, owns a cafe and bike shop, as well as the young Swedish rider Freddy Johanssen.
Speaking at the UK Youth centenary gala dinner, Backstedt said: "I am delighted to come back on to the pro-cycling circuit with such talented people around me. The pro-cycling world needs to watch out for the talents of these guys - they are champions of the future.
“To lead the UK Youth team is something that is very important to me,” continued the Swede, who is vice president of the organisation. “It is a charity that supports over 750,000 young people in Britain, and everyone of them is such an inspiration to me" said Magnus on his announcement at the UK youth centenary gala dinner.”
Charlotte Hill, CEO of UK Youth said: "I cannot say thank you enough to Magnus for leading the UK Youth Team in 2011. He truly is an amazing guy, and I am sure the talents of the guys will ensure that the UK Youth Team will inspire a whole new generation of young people to reach for their dreams in life. “
She added: “I don't think there has ever been any team in any sport who has aligned with a charity the way Magnus has aligned his team to UK Youth. We are so honoured by his action."
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.