On a blisteringly hot day in Castile-La-Mancha, Fred Wright was narrowly outsprinted by triple stage-winner Mads Pedersen at the finish line of stage 19 in Talavera de la Reina, adding a 2nd place to the two 3rds & two 4ths he has already achieved at La Vuelta.

Having played his cards perfectly in the final kilometre, Fred was on the ex World Champion’s wheel coming into the last 50 metres, when he launched his sprint and came around Pedersen on the right, only to be beaten by the Dane’s bike throw on the line.

The winning margin was a matter of centimetres, and to be so close to a sprinter with the pedigree & palmares of the Trek rider, on a pan flat finish, shows again the incredible late-season form of the 23-year old Briton. His 5 teammates had worked brilliantly to position Wright in the fight for victory, throughout the 138km stage.

Vuelta Espana 2022 – 77th edition – 19th stage – Talavera de la Reina – Talavera de la Reina 138,3 km – 09/09/2022 – Mads Pedersen (DEN – Trek – Segafredo) – Fred Wright (GBR – Bahrain Victorious) – Gianni Vermeersch (BEL – Alpecin – Fenix) – photo Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022

Despite yet another impressive performance at this last grand tour of the season, Fred was – of course – disappointed not to stand on the top step of the podium today.

I was so close again to that stage win but Mads was just too quick. The team were amazing in supporting me today. I owe this result to all of them

Vuelta Espana 2022 – 77th edition – 19th stage – Talavera de la Reina – Talavera de la Reina 138,3 km – 09/09/2022 – Bahrain Victorious – photo Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022

Just before the stage finished, and while the riders were all still on the road, Team Jumbo Visma released a statement on their website regarding the crash in the finishing straight on stage 16 which led to Primoz Roglic’s withdrawal from the race.

In it, the triple Vuelta winner and the team’s managing director insinuate heavily that our rider, Fred Wright, was to blame for the incident, and for the Slovenian’s injuries.

Team Bahrain Victorious stand by Fred. It is our belief that this was a racing incident. Unfortunately crashes are a part of our sport and this isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, even though riders do their best to avoid them.The race footage supports this: our rider does not deviate from his racing line before the incident.

We also believe that if a team has certain feelings about an incident on the road, the place to take those up is with the commissaires after the stage rather than a statement online some days later.

It is predictable that releasing a statement such as this leads to vitriol and hate being expressed towards a fellow member of the peloton, which we find most disappointing. We sincerely hope that actions encouraging such behaviour online will cease to happen. Fred is kind, generous, and incredibly talented. He does not deserve the comments or sentiments that have been directed towards him in recent days.

Wright also feels that the accusations are unmerited:

I don’t think the statement is fair to be honest, as the footage shows it was a simple racing incident, but I also appreciate that Primoz was challenging for the red jersey here at La Vuelta. And of course I did send him a private message after the stage to see if he was ok.

All of us at Team Bahrain Victorious wish Primoz a speedy recovery and return to racing.

Before Sunday’s final stage in the Spanish capital of Madrid, Saturday will see the riders tackle one last mountain test; 181km between Moralzarzal and Puerto de Navacerrada.

(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Sprintcycling @TeamBahrainVictorious)



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