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Fred Wright happy to be the underdog at Worlds road race

Tour de France 2022 - 109th Edition - 16th stage Carcassonne - Foix 179 km - 19/07/2022 - Fred Wright (GBR - Bahrain Victorious) - photo Luca Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
Fred Wright will lead Great Britain on Sunday following an impressive summer at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España (Image credit: Luca Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency©2022 )

Great Britain's Fred Wright is happy to be considered as an underdog for Sunday's elite men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships. The team leader stands convinced that the young British team that also includes Ethan Hayter, Jake Stewart and Connor Swift, can perhaps pull off a surprise.

"I think that underdog is a good description for me and for us as a team. We've got a lot of strength and we're going to use it while the others look at each other. That's the plan," Wright warned.  

"Wout van Aert is the out and out favourite for this course and he showed in the Tour and all the races he's done this year that he's so strong. But it's almost in our favour to be the underdogs."

Wright joked that he has finally overcome problems of jet-lag and the long journey to Australia, with his bowel indicating he was ready to race.

He admitted he did not ride his bike between finishing the Vuelta a España and travelling to Australia three days later but has since trained with his teammates.

"This is my first time dealing with proper jet lag, I've never been to Australia. I'm on Australia time now. All my eating and bowel movements are in sync, that's a sign that I'm ready.

"I'm not as tired from the Vuelta as I thought I'd be. Two Grand Tours in a year is a lot but I think I've done well at resting. I'm in a good place, that's for sure."

Great Britain have selected a team of youth and experience for Australia, with Wright and Hayter considered team leaders due to their strong riding this year.  

Ben Turner, Ben Swift, Ben Tulett and Luke Rowe provide a solid Ineos Grenadiers core to the team, with Jake Stewart and Connor Swift possible alternatives for leadership and well suited to the Wollongong course.

Wright and Hayter are part of a new generation of British riders emerging in the peloton. The two have raced together since being schoolboys and even shared a house during the COVID-19 lockdown. Tom Pidcock is also part of the same generation but opted to miss the Worlds due to a long season.

"There are so many new Brit professionals coming through, British cycling is in a good place and it's only going to get better," Wright suggested.  

"We're all good mates and we all want to see each other succeed. I'm not sure if it will happen on Sunday but at some point we'll have a British world champion in the next few years. It's a shame Tom couldn't be here but I think me and Ethan are going to give it a really good crack."

Hayter won the Tour de Pologne last month before making his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España but was forced to leave the race after nine stages due to COVID-19.  His fourth place in the time trial despite crunching his gears and needing a bike change indicated he is on form.

Wright impressed at the Tour de France and then again at the Vuelta a España, taking five top-five results as he chased a stage victory. It didn't happen but he'd love for some payback for his efforts in Australia.

"That'd be the dream, to accumulate all this learning I've done in the last few months into a win on Sunday. There's still unknowns to that but I'm looking forward to it," he explained with natural ambitions.

"Everyone dreams of the rainbow bands and being able to wear them. I think of the nice bike you'd have in nice colours and then putting it on the wall at home. I dream of the bands."

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