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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 July, 2004, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Village cheers on cycle hero
Magnus Backstedt
Magnus Backstedt has started his fourth Tour de France
As the world's top cycling race starts, residents of a Welsh village are cheering on one of their own.

Swedish cyclist Magnus Backstedt lives in Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan with his wife, former Commonwealth Games and British Road Race competitor Megan Hughes.

But on Saturday he set off on the Tour de France - a gruelling 3,395km trek. Twenty-two teams of riders will battle it out.

The race passes through French countryside as well as the Alps and the Pyrenees.

Backstedt has won some of Europe's top races, and is tipped to do well in the contest.

He puts the secret of his success down to "dedication, discipline, mental strength, and stamina."

Every day leading up to the race, he has been putting his body through a punishing eight-hour training schedule.

Magnus Backstedt
Llantwit Major was part of his training ground
The athlete has settled so comfortably into Llantwit Major that he is now considering competing for Wales at the next Commonwealth Games.

"I don't really know if I'm Swedish or Welsh," he said.

"I just see myself as a citizen of Europe."

Prologue: as it happened
03 Jul 04  |  Cycling
Backstedt sprints into history
01 Aug 98  |  Tour de France
Hammond makes history
11 Apr 04  |  Cycling


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