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Fred Wright: Britain's next Monument man?

Will Strickson
11 Jan 2021

After an impressive showing as a Grand Tour domestique, the Bahrain Victorious youngster has his sights set on the Classics

The 2010s saw Sir Dave Brailsford, Chris Froome and the rest turn British men's road cycling from a bunch of track specialists stretching their legs to one of the Grand Tour powerhouses.

Through Froome, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Simon Yates and Tao Geoghegan Hart (plus Adam Yates and Hugh Carthy), no General Classification was safe by the end of the decade with the 2017-2018 streak of five consecutive British Grand Tour winners proving complete domination.

Before late season efforts from Geoghegan Hart and Carthy, some thought that era was over come 2020, but with all of the aforementioned names bar Wiggins still going and names like James Knox and Tom Pidcock coming through, this beast will not slow it seems.

But with GC and sprint domination achieved, there is an elephant in the room: the Monument Classics.

Unlike with the long wait to break the Grand Tour duck, there have been four British Monument wins in men's cycling down the years thanks to Tom Simpson's triple and Mark Cavendish's Milan-San Remo triumph.

British women have three Monument wins despite only having two out of five races on the circuit until the inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix set to take place this year.

However the Sky/Ineos era failed to get a Briton to the top step of a Monument on the men's side, with Ben Swift's second at Milan-San Remo in 2016 and Ian Stannard's third place at Roubaix in the same year the closest the team came.

Wright time for a new winner

In the 2020s that could all change, however, as 21-year-old Fred Wright looks ahead to his second season with the newly renamed Bahrain Victorious squad.

Speaking at the team's virtual 2021 team presentation, Wright said: 'The Classics are what I want to succeed in in the future.'

The Londoner spent the 2020 season gaining experience as a domestique, including helping Wout Poels to sixth overall at the Vuelta a Espana where Wright also sprinted to fourth on Stage 15.

Bahrain Victorious's new technical director Vladimir Miholjević was quick to praise Wright, making sure to give his thoughts before the attention moved to questions on Wout Poels's hopes for the new season.

'Fred is a modest guy, he's a kid any parent would want at home,' Miholjević said. 'From the team's perspective, we put a lot of attention on his future. We strongly believe that he's one of the riders of the new generation. He will get results for himself and for the team.'

While Wright's potential as a domestique is clear to see – he'll no doubt be rolled out to support Poels, Pello Bilbao or Mikel Landa in 2021 – he's set to test his legs in the Classics too and if he finds himself in the hunt at the business end of a race he'll no doubt be unleashed.

At only 21 years old and starting just his second full season on the WorldTour, don't be surprised if Wright becomes Britain's first winner of Paris-Roubaix or Liège-Bastogne-Liège in years to come.

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