For the second time in three days at the Vuelta a España, Fred Wright’s hopes of a maiden win for his career came painfully close to becoming reality with the Bahrain Victorious racer on Friday battling his fellow breakaways all the way to the line.
Wright was in on a six-man move that went almost from the gun on stage 7. He was still there as the break shrank to five on the interminable Puerto San Glorio first category climb and then blasted towards the finish at the inland town of Cistierna.
But having managed, against all the odds, to fend off a bunch in hot pursuit by just over 30 seconds, Wright opted to lead out the break and was subsequently unable to stop Spain’s Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), finally the winner, and Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan) from powering past.
The 23-year-old was understandably disappointed by such a narrow miss after a 182-kilometre breakaway on Friday, which came on the back of another third place on Wednesday’s 106-kilometre move through the Basque Country. But he insisted that he would “stay positive.”
“The break went fairly early on, and I jumped across to get there. We had a good group of 6 guys working well together,” Wright said in a statement released by Bahrain Victorious.
“I didn’t think we were going to make it because I found out some of the sprinters were still in the bunch after the climb or got back to the bunch, so it was only in the last 10 to 15 kilometres that I thought it might not come back and we were going to do this.”
Wright explained that his ambition to take the win had proven to be too strong, and rather than calculate his finish strategy clearly, he’d gone too early.
“It’s hard when you want it so bad – I think that’s why I went a bit earlier because I see the finish line and I think, ‘I’ve got the best sprint here, I’m just going to go for it.’”
“I think it’s easy to forget that it’s hard not to let the emotions get the better of you. You have to keep a cool head. But I think as soon as it clicks and I learn how it’s done it’s going to get a lot easier.”
While rueing the victory missed, Wright insisted he would keep trying in the days to come. As he put it, “It’s just a shame because it would have been nice to win the stage for the team today.”
“I’m not going to lie, I’m really gutted. But I have to stay positive, because it’s coming, it’s definitely coming.”