Primož Roglič blames Fred Wright for Vuelta a España-ending crash

·3 min read

This article originally appeared on Velo News

Primoz Roglic has blamed Fred Wright for the crash that forced him to abandon the Vuelta a Espana earlier this week.

Roglic crashed in the finale of stage 16 after a coming together with Wright during the sprint for the line. Television pictures showed Roglic swerving to the right to get in the slipstream of the riders in front and then suddenly falling.

Pictures taken from the side of the road seem to show Wright's arm connecting with Roglic's handlebar. Though Roglic was able to finish the stage, he pulled out of the race citing a significant amount of pain as a result of the fall. He was cleared of any broken bones.

“This was not okay,” Roglic said of the crash on the Jumbo-Visma website. “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 behavior. 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.”

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The statement from Roglic was released during stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana while Wright was riding, so he has not been able to respond to the allegations made by Roglic and his team. However, he told reporters the day after the crash that he had felt some contact with Roglic and that he was "gutted" for the Slovenian, who had been sitting in second place overall at the time.

"I felt there was a bit of contact, but it was just an unfortunate racing incident and I am so gutted for Roglic because I was looking forward to watching what was going to happen in this race, from the bunch," Wright said Wednesday morning. "I really feel like he was going to challenge for the overall lead. With how strong he rode; he didn't deserve to have that happen to him. It's just an unfortunate and unlucky one. It's cycling, it happens."

Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge also chose to blame Wright for the fall and said that there was a "lack of respect" from younger riders within the bunch. He said that a "change of behavior" was needed.

“Research shows that the riders’ cycling behavior 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," Plugge said. "It requires a change of behavior, driven by awareness and consistent judging. Shortly after the incident in Poland [the 2020 crash between Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen – ed.], it almost went wrong in Milan-San Remo for the third and the fourth place. Fortunately, that ended well, but the behavior remained unpunished. We have to deal with that properly.

“Ten 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. 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 Primoz is speaking out, looking in the mirror and naming the behavior of riders as well.”

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