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Fred Wright and his Bahrain Victorious team pushed back against allegations leveled by Primož Roglič and Jumbo-Visma that the British rider caused the crash that sent home the Slovenian this week at the Vuelta a España.
Moments after finishing second in Friday’s Vuelta stage, Wright said he was surprised by the high-profile accusations made by both Roglič and the WorldTour team via its team website.
“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 Primož was challenging for the red jersey here at La Vuelta,” Wright said Friday. “And of course I did send him a private message after the stage to see if he was OK.”
- Roglič blames Wright for causing him to crash
- No broken bones or concussion, but Primož Roglič leaves Vuelta a España in ‘a lot of pain’
- Primož Roglič abandons Vuelta a España following stage 16 crash
- Primož Roglič crashes hard during finale of stage 16
Roglič crashed when he looked poised to put time into red jersey Remco Evenepoel, but he clipped handlebars with Wright in a four-up sprint to the line.
Roglič slammed down hard just meters before the finish, and did not start the next day despite being in second and within striking distance of Evenepoel, who carries the Vuelta lead into the final weekend.
On Friday, Roglič and Jumbo-Visma released a strongly worded message on its official team website suggesting that Wright raced dangerously and provoked the incident that sent Roglič out of the race.
Bahrain Victorious: ‘We stand by Fred’
Bahrain Victorious countered Friday, and said the team does not agree with the Jumbo-Visma assertions.
“Team Bahrain Victorious stands by Fred. It is our belief that this was a racing incident,” the team said in a statement. “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,” the team stated.
“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,” officials said.
Here is a video I found of the crash from behind (by youtube channel El sello ciclista). I am not sure, what do you think? pic.twitter.com/iYYEgaey7D
— Tinkara (@tominctinkara) September 9, 2022
Team officials also shot back at Jumbo-Visma and Roglič, suggesting that the high-profile public comments will only fuel social media anger toward Wright.
“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 behavior online will cease to happen,” officials said.
“Fred is kind, generous, and incredibly talented. He does not deserve the comments or sentiments that have been directed towards him in recent days.”
There was no immediate response from Roglič or Jumbo-Visma officials Friday.
Bahrain Victorious offered this message as well.
“All of us at Team Bahrain Victorious wish Primoz a speedy recovery and return to racing,” the team said.