Thursday, November 5th, 2020 – La Vuelta a España featured today the longest stage of this edition, that saw the peloton facing an undulating 230.8km course from Mos to Puebla de Sanabria.
The long day in the saddle was made even more demanding due to the headwind and rain. After several breakaway attempts were caught back – with the last survivor who was reeled with less than 4km to go – the stage win was an affair of a reduced group, including Team Bahrain McLaren young rider Fred Wright.
Team Bahrain McLaren Sports Director Gorazd Stangelj explained how the actions unfolded: “We were informed that the timings were neutralized with 3km to go due to a dangerous finale. At the same moment, I’ve got the idea to say to Fred that if he wants to take the opportunity, take it. I said to him: ‘It’s up to you if you want to risk a bit’ because it was a bit dangerous at the end with the wet road, but it went all good. I’m happy that our guys are ready to fight every single meter of the race.”
As Stangelj asked, Fred Wright took his opportunity, and he managed to fight for a top-five result, taking 4th place on the uphill finish. Philipsen took the win, beating Ackermann and Steimle.
“I’m so happy with that after a very long day out. I think it’s the longest ride I’ve ever done, nearly seven hours,” the 21-year-old British rider commented, “Because the GC riders were not involved, I just followed, and I am really happy with the result.”
Wright showed his talent and endurance skill on a stage that featured about 4.000m of elevation and that saw him also working for the team, as Stangelj pointed out: “It was a very tough day, a long stage, with headwind all day. There were lots of breakaway attempts, including one dangerous, so we worked to close the gap, with Fred that did a great job in that”.
With the decision that timings for the general classification were taken with 3km to go, the overall ranking remained unchanged, with Wout Poels remaining in 6th place.
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