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Primoz Roglic blames Fred Wright for Vuelta a España crash

Slovenian Primoz Roglic of JumboVisma pictured after 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 DAVID PINTENS Photo by DAVID PINTENS BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by DAVID PINTENSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
A battered Primož Roglič crosses the line following his crash late on stage 6 of the Vuelta a España (Image credit: DAVID PINTENSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images)

Primož Roglič has laid the blame for his Vuelta a España crash and subsequent abandon at the door of Fred Wright, the Bahrain Victorious rider he collided with in the closing metres of the race's 16th stage.

The Slovenian crashed out of second overall after going on a late attack on the stage to Tomares, gaining eight seconds on race leader Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) but tangling with Wright in the sprint for the line. The next day, his Jumbo-Visma team would announce his departure from the race due to numerous wounds following his fall.

Speaking on the Jumbo-Visma team website as part of an article titled 'One crash too many for Primož Roglič, though there is hope for safer racing', Roglič attributed his crash to "a rider's behaviour", directly referring to Wright in his comments.

"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."

During the fight for the win at the end of the hilly stage, Roglič swung off the front of the select group that had emerged at the front following his attack, with green jersey Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) going on to take the win.

He rejoined the group at the rear alongside Wright, with the pair touching handlebars as they sprinted for the line, resulting in Roglič hitting the deck and, eventually, leaving the race.

Jumbo-Visma's article, published on Friday, linked the crash into the wider issue of rider safety, with team managing director Richard Plugge seemingly drawing comparison to the 2019 Tour de Pologne crash between Dylan Groenewegen and Fabio Jakobsen and suggesting that rider behaviour needs to change.

"Research has been done into numerous racing incidents. They have been mapped out in a database," Plugge said. "The causes were categorised. Obstacles, for example. As well as 'rider's own fault' or 'other rider's fault'. We are right to talk about unsafe spots in a course, such as the threshold in Burgos.

"However, research shows that the riders' cycling behaviour is to blame for a crash in about half the cases. Not braking, but pushing through, for example. It doesn't surprise me because every rider has the will to win. I would like to say: brake and use your brains. It requires a change of behaviour, driven by awareness and consistent judging.

"Shortly after the incident in Poland, it almost went wrong in Milano-Sanremo for the third and the fourth place. Fortunately, that ended well, but the behaviour remained unpunished. We have to deal with that properly."

Wright had said after the finish that the crash was "a racing incident", adding that, "I went around Primož as he lost ground. This was of course not on purpose. I hope he is OK."

Plugge said that he was glad Roglič was "speaking out" about the crash, which few had viewed as anything other than an error by the Slovenian in the sprint.

"10 years ago, the older riders were sounding the alarm because the younger ones showed less respect, took irresponsible risks, and pushed their way through everything," Plugge said. "The younger ones of yesteryear are the older riders of today. But you still hear the same discussion, even though we are a generation ahead. So that has to change.

"I'm glad that Primož is speaking out, looking in the mirror and naming the behaviour of riders as well."

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