uses cookies for statistics and targeting ads. This information is shared with third parties.

Every day we bring you more pro-cycling news

“After my performance the last 2 years I have to believe that one year I can battle there for a good result. Of course with John, you always put all your cards on him. But in the final, you always have a chance!”


Photo: Team Giant-Shimano






21.12.2015 @ 08:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

It is rare for a domestique who has only won one pro race in his career to be so close to winning a Monument. But for Giant-Alpecin’s Bert De Backer, that has almost been a reality at the 2014 and 2015 editions of Paris-Roubaix, where he made the final selection both times before sacrificing himself for teammate John Degenkolb, who was second and then first in the races.


CyclingQuotes caught up with the strong Belgian to discuss Roubaix, the future of his team and his elite group of fellow pro riders who ride with each other in Ghent. 


De Backer admits that his early season form was still suffering thanks to a crash sustained in June of 2014, but he gradually built his shape back and by Roubaix, he was flying again, out on a mission to prove is 2014 showing of 11th wasn’t a fluke. He proved this, taking 12th, while Degenkolb won the fabled Cobblestone trophy.


“Although I had a lot of problems with my health after a hard crash in June 2014, I’m very satisfied that I could do my job in the Flemish classics for the team. Mentally it was also a big relief that I could show in Roubaix that last year wasn’t a lucky shot. I put a lot of pressure on myself for that, because even I didn’t know if I was just lucky that day in 2014. But now I know I’m made for those cobbles, because even with a bad feeling I made it in to the final. After the national championships in June, I got the metal in my collarbone (which was placed there after the 2014 crash) removed, and since then I have a body again that can handle a lot training, so one year after my crash I am riding with a positive feeling again.”


De Backer is always a willing helper, especially on the cobbles, but his powerful frame, like Degenkolb’s, seems to suit the harsher stones of Roubaix better than the steep inclines of Tour of Flanders.


“I think I have the right shape to ride on cobbles. This year, I was suffering a lot on the asphalt roads in-between the cobbles. So bad that I thought after 150km, that I would never make it into the finale. When the race evolved and riders were getting dropped on the cobbles, I could easily move up on the cobbles. In 2014 we got second with John, and talked a lot about it afterwards. That’s one of the reasons why we made the good decisions in the finale this year. And when you have a leader with the shape like John this year, then you have a good chance to take the victory home.”


Niki Terpstra managed to win the 2014 edition of Roubaix that De Backer first showed promise in. he escaped solo at 6km to go and De Backer and Geraint Thomas just couldn’t bridge. Terpstra was aided by the fact that he had two strong teammates in the lead group in Stybar and Boonen. When asked if Degenkolb’s presence in the front could one day allow De Backer to win, he said:


“After my performance the last 2 years I have to believe that one year I can battle there for a good result. Of course with a leader like John, you always put all your cards on him. But when you’re there in the final, you always have a chance!”


turning to 2016, much has been made of Marcel Kittel’s departure from Giant-Alpecin and the reported change in attitude from sprinting to climbing. The 2013 Grote Prijs Jef Scherens winner said that the team’s calendar will remain the same as always, meaning their style of racing will be very similar too, regardless of the big German’s departure.


“For now the races we will compete at are the same, so my role as a captain can stay the same. We still have talented sprinters in the team, so they still deserve full support.”


De Backer isn’t sure where he will start his season, but says he will be racing early and will finish the season in October, meaning it will be another long year for him. One thing he can confirm is that he will be at his best for the Classics, especially Roubaix.


“The team has my plan ready for the whole season, and although it will be an early start and a late ending, it’s very balanced with several short rest periods. When a team has a big program, a lot can change, so small changes are always possible. As a helper it’s better to be between 95 and 100% in every race. But if there’s one race where I’ll try to be 110%, then that’s Paris-Roubaix.”


Turning to his training, there is a group on Twitter known as SVGG (Sport Vrienden Gruut Gent). They are made up of eight pro cyclists and they train together, pushing each other so they can achieve great results.


“In Ghent we have a training group of 8 professional cyclists (Tiesj Benoot, Dimitri Claeys, Iljo Keisse, Niko Maes, Edward Theuns, Gijs Van Hoecke, Otto Vergaerde and me) and it’s named SVGG (Sport Vrienden Gruut Gent). If you want to translate it, Sports Friends from Gent and suburbs, says where it stands for. I think the group is a boost for all of us. We push each other in a good way. We train that little bit more, change some things nutrition wise, help each other in the gym or push each other to the limit when we do sprints. And above all of that, we just when we have fun together. I’m more then 30 years old (31) and my job is going out on the bike with friends...It can sound romantic, an actually also is,” he jokes.




Bycykling 101: Navigering i byens gader og cykelvenlige... 27.11.2023 @ 12:11The Best Danish Cyclist To Bet On At 2022 Tour De France 13.01.2022 @ 15:262022 Upcoming Tournament Overview 03.01.2022 @ 09:45Best Place to Find Stand-Up Paddleboards 16.06.2021 @ 08:16What are Primoz Roglic’s Chances to Win 2021 Tour de Fr... 17.03.2021 @ 08:37Amazing victory by young champion Sarah Gigante 04.02.2021 @ 14:21Three reasons why cycling is one of the best ways to ex... 28.09.2020 @ 12:03Why do businesses use meeting room managers? 14.09.2020 @ 13:42Five things that you can do, if you want to gain more f... 20.08.2020 @ 15:38One for the road 09.06.2020 @ 15:25List of CyclingQuotes previews 07.05.2020 @ 13:20Blue Energy: room for all interests 26.08.2019 @ 12:56Get your daily dose of exercise at home 08.07.2019 @ 10:443 good advice to be able to afford your favorite bike 25.02.2019 @ 12:32Cycle through gorgeous landscapes 22.10.2018 @ 21:41Balance Your Economy and Diet and Start Saving Money 08.10.2018 @ 11:18Stay Safe: 3 Helmets That Can Keep Your Head Protected... 20.07.2018 @ 07:59Planning to bet on Tour De France - Bet types and strat... 24.05.2018 @ 14:18Basics of cycling betting 25.10.2017 @ 13:10Bauer moves to ORICA-SCOTT 28.08.2017 @ 10:45End of the road for CyclingQuotes 08.01.2017 @ 16:00Rui Costa confirms Giro participation 07.01.2017 @ 12:55Van Avermaet: I am not afraid of Sagan 07.01.2017 @ 09:45Unchanged course for E3 Harelbeke 07.01.2017 @ 09:32Jenner takes surprise win at Australian U23 Championships 07.01.2017 @ 08:53No replacement for Meersman at Fortuneo-Vital Concept 06.01.2017 @ 19:14Barguil with two goals in 2017 06.01.2017 @ 19:06More details about French Vuelta start emerges 06.01.2017 @ 14:16Kristoff to start season at Etoile de Besseges 06.01.2017 @ 14:10Ion Izagirre announces schedule for first year at Bahrain 06.01.2017 @ 12:40JLT Condor optimistic for Herald Sun Tour 06.01.2017 @ 09:19Haas leads Dimension Data trio in fight for Australian... 06.01.2017 @ 09:15Sagan spearheads Bora-hansgrohe at Tour Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:12Henao and Thomas lead Sky Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:09Bauer crowned New Zealand TT champion 06.01.2017 @ 08:33Van der Poel ready to defend Dutch title 05.01.2017 @ 21:00Pantano ambitious for first Tour with Trek 05.01.2017 @ 20:41Landa with new approach to the Giro 05.01.2017 @ 20:36Sunweb Development Team sign Goos and Zepuntke 05.01.2017 @ 20:27Dumoulin confirms Giro participation 05.01.2017 @ 20:19Bauer targets victories in Quick-Step debut 05.01.2017 @ 20:16Gaviria and Boonen lead Quick-Step in San Juan 05.01.2017 @ 20:13Team Sunweb presented in Germany 05.01.2017 @ 20:09ASO take over major German WorldTour race 05.01.2017 @ 11:01Team Sunweb unveil new jersey 05.01.2017 @ 10:54Reactions from the Australian TT Championships 05.01.2017 @ 08:27Dennis defends Australian TT title 05.01.2017 @ 08:21Scotson takes back to back U23 TT titles in Australia 05.01.2017 @ 08:15Utrecht on track to host 2020 Vuelta 04.01.2017 @ 18:28Pre-season setback for Talansky 04.01.2017 @ 17:56Kristoff: It's not impossible for me to win in Rou... 04.01.2017 @ 17:49Boom close to first cyclo-cross win in LottoNL debut 04.01.2017 @ 17:40UAE Abu Dhabi make late signing of Arab rider 04.01.2017 @ 17:36UAE Abu Dhabi unveil new jersey 04.01.2017 @ 17:30BMC unveil race schedule 04.01.2017 @ 17:21

Currently no news in this list

52 years | today
34 years | today
39 years | today
29 years | today
Kristian AASVOLD
29 years | today