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Bahrain Victorious issue Roglic response – 'We stand by Fred'

Slovenian Primoz Roglic of JumboVisma lies injured at the finish line of stage 16 of the 2022 edition of the Vuelta a Espana Tour of Spain cycling race from Sanlucar de Barrameda to Tomares 1894 km Spain Tuesday 06 September 2022 BELGA PHOTO FILIP LANSZWEERT Photo by FILIP LANSZWEERT BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by FILIP LANSZWEERTBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Primož Roglič in the aftermath of the stage 16 crash which forced him out of the Vuelta a España (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Following Primož Roglič's statement blaming Fred Wright for the stage 16 crash which forced him out of the Vuelta a España, the Briton's team Bahrain Victorious have released a statement defending their rider.

In the statement released Friday evening, Bahrain Victorious said that it supported Wright and believed that crashes are an unfortunate part of bike racing.

"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."

Bahrain Victorious also provided a statement from Wright, who felt that Rogič's accusations were 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."

Roglič, via his Jumbo-Visma team, had released a statement earlier on Friday blaming Wright for the crash which saw the Slovenian suffer multiple wounds as he hit the deck late on the stage to Tomares.

"This was not OK," Roglič said. "This shouldn't happen. People move on swiftly as if nothing happened. For me, that doesn't apply. This is not the way I want the sport to continue, and I want to make that clear.

"I can walk a little bit. I am happy with that for the moment. After the crash, it took me time to straighten things out. I asked myself: how can this be? My conclusion is that the way this crash happened is unacceptable. Not everyone saw it correctly.

"The crash was not caused by a bad road or a lack of safety but by a rider's behaviour. I don't have eyes on my back. Otherwise, I would have run wide. Wright came from behind and rode the handlebars out of my hands before I knew it."

The crash seemed to come about via a touch of handlebars between the two riders as Roglič swung off and rejoined a select group in the final metres of stage 16. He had provoked the move after attacking late on the stage as GC leader Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) was in trouble with a puncture just inside the final 3km.

Roglič and Wright – who later called the crash a "racing incident" – were sprinting side-by-side behind eventual stage winner Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) when the three-time Vuelta winner hit the deck, as a result suffering the injuries that would rule him out of a Grand Tour for the second time this summer.  

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