25 Aug 2022

Fred Wright narrowly misses out on GC lead

At the Vuelta a España, the 5th stage saw the first day of attacking racing. Fred Wright spent half the day in a lead group to finish in 3rd and miss out on the red GC leader's jersey by two seconds. But at least he got the white jersey for the best young rider.

The 77th edition of the Vuelta a España got started in the Netherlands with two flat stages and a team time trial to kick things off. Team Bahrain Victorious headed into the race with Mikel Landa and Gino Mäder as its two co-captains for the general classification. These two could rely on the support of the likes of Santiago Buitrago, Wout Poels, Luis Leon Sanchez, Jasha Sütterlin, Fred Wright, and Edoardo Zambanini. Thus the team has a well-balanced mix of experience and young talent. As for the first three days in the Netherlands, the most important goal was to limit the time losses relative to some of the strongest teams. This worked out pretty well, as Wout Poels was the only rider of the team to be involved in one of many crashes without suffering serious injuries. After the first rest day and the transfer to the Iberian peninsula, the landscape changed drastically, and riders got treated to plenty of climbing in the Basque Country.

As for the 4th stage, the action got packed into the finale, with the last two ascending kilometres serving as the stage for the showdown. No less than five riders of Team Bahrain Victorious finished this stage in a reduced group at seven seconds from the stage winner. On the next day, the breakaway only formed after a blisteringly fast opening 70 kilometres. And Young Englishman Fred Wright was part of this breakaway, being just a bit over a minute behind in the overall standings. Wright rode a courageous race, but in the end, he was left on his own and got outperformed - by Marc Soler for the stage win and by Rudy Molard in the fight for the red jersey of the GC leader. By finishing the stage in 3rd, Wright still moved into the white jersey of the best young rider. But the interviews at the finish clearly showed that missing out on the red jersey by a scant two seconds did bother the young Englishman.

This year's Deutschland Tour started with a 2.6-kilometre prologue with only six corners through the streets of Weimar. After that, there are four more stages in the Southwest - three with a hilly profile and the Queen's stage with a mountaintop finish at Schauinsland. Before the race got started, Team Bahrain Victorious was down one rider; however, as Phil Bauhaus could not take the start of the prologue after a positive Covid test. With Jonathan Milan, the riders in red, orange and black have another fast sprinter in their line-up, however. He can rely on the support of Heinrich Haussler and Filip Maciejuk. The team's captain for the GC is Pello Bilbao, who is being supported by Hermann Pernsteiner. As the best-placed rider of the team, Filip Maciejuk finished the prologue in 14th at 8 seconds from stage winner Filippo Ganna.

1. Marc Soler, ESP, in 4:15.23 hours
2. Daryl Impey, RSA, + 0.04

1. Rudy Molard, FRA, in 16:07.22 hours
3. Nikias Arndt, GER, + 1.09

1. Fred Wright, GBR/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 16:07.24 hours
2. Pavel Sivakov, RUS, + 4.33
3. Remco Evenepoel, BEL, + 4.34

Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency